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MOSCOW, December 26. /ITAR-TASS/. As the 22nd Winter Olympic Games are getting closer, the pages of Western media stay awash in the allegations on violations of civil rights, and especially the rights of people with same-sex orientations.
Several heads of state and government of the G8 countries supported their decision to stay away from going to Sochi with the understatements clearly pointing at what they see as encroachments on the rights of the LGBT community — the fact that astonished members of the very same community in Russia.
“Putin has knocked practically all the trump cards from the hands of the West as regards encroachments on human rights and only one theme is still standing out,” Nikolai Alexeyev, founder of the GayRussia.ru human rights project wrote in the media. “But we the people from LGBT community have always spoken against a boycott of the Olympic Games.”
He described it as a completely inefficacious method of action. “It is good enough to say that, well, I’m boycotting the Games if I’m located in London or New York but we’ve always objected to it,” Alexeyev wrote. “As a person living in Russia, I realize too well it (the boycott) won’t give anything for the defense of LGBT rights here.”
Experts polled by Itar-Tass think the problem of encroachments on the rights of LGBT people in this country is factitious and is not linked in any way the Olympic Games in Sochi. President of the Amber Bridge International Public Foundation and a member of the International Academy of Information Sciences, Yuri Sizov, recalled that Vladimir Putin had told the whole world there were no encroachments on the rights of sexual minorities in Russia.
Putin said then there people have all the rights and freedoms accorded to all other citizens of Russia. Although he stressed the inability of same-sex couples to beget and produce children, he pointed out that the LGBT individuals in Russia have all the rights and freedoms, occupy various positions and make careers. That is why the rights of sexual minorities should be safeguarded, he said, adding that the protection of LGBT participants and guests in Sochi would be fully warranted.
“It’s important to create a situation where the theme of violations of the rights of sexual minorities won’t turn into an obstacle for the sojourn of athletes and sports fans at the Games in Sochi,” Sizov said.
“The Russian authorities are trying to tap a balance between the majorities and minorities because public opinion demands the defense of traditional values,” Sergei Markov, the director of the Institute for Political Research and a member of Russia’s Public Chamber, told Itar-Tass. “In this sense, the authorities are staying under tough pressure and the President, who responds to the quests from society, calls himself a supporter of conservative values.”
“But along with it the authorities are actively looking for a compromise between the majority and LGBT individuals,” Dr. Markov said.
“Many Russian LGBT people work for mass media or are linked to show business or are businessmen,” he said. “They have their own clubs and newspapers but along with it they have a tacit social contract under the terms of which they try to prevent the stirring of public feelings, and especially in what concerns children.”
“If you look at the situation from this angle, Russia will have to implement the principle of zoning the public space so that representatives of different value systems had an opportunity to profess their cultures without imposing them on others,” Dr. Markov said.
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