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No harassment of gays in Russia, Putin says in interview with Oliver Stone

June 14, 11:34 UTC+3 NEW YORK

Putin stressed that Russia’s society is "rather liberal" and "there is no situation like in some Muslim countries where homosexuals face death penalty"

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© Mikhail Klimentiev/Russian presidential press service/TASS

NEW YORK, June 14. /TASS/. Individuals who are LGBT do not face any restriction of liberty in Russia, President Vladimir Putin has said in an interview with Hollywood director Oliver Stone.

Stone conducted a dozen interviews with Putin between 2015 and February 2017 for his four-part documentary on topics ranging from Russian-US relations, Syria, Ukraine to domestic policy, gay rights and Edward Snowden. The Putin Interviews premiered on the Showtime TV channel in the United States on June 12 and will continue through June 15. The documentary’s second series was released on Tuesday.

"We have no restrictions or harassment based on gender. Moreover, many people explicitly talk about their non-traditional sexual orientation. We maintain relations with them and many of them achieve outstanding results in their activity," Putin noted. "They even get state awards and orders for their achievements."

Defending Russia’s law banning propaganda of homosexuality among minors enacted in June 2013, Putin said: "The reasoning behind this law is to provide children with the opportunity to grow up without impacting their consciousness." "When they grow up, they may take any decision on their future, including private and sexual ones."

Putin stressed that Russia’s society is "rather liberal" and "there is no situation like in some Muslim countries where homosexuals face death penalty." When asked if this also refers to military in Russia, Putin said: "There is no ban."

Stone asked if Putin would take a shower on a submarine with a gay man. The Russian leader replied in laughter: "I prefer not to go to the shower with him. Why provoke him? "But you know, I'm a Judo master as well as a Sambo master."

Putin said as a president he believes it is his duty to "uphold traditional and family values." "Because same-sex marriages will not produce any children. And we have to care about birth rates in our country," he stressed. "We need to reinforce families. At the same time, no one is saying that anyone should be persecuted."

Speaking about if same-sex couples can adopt children, Putin said: "Yes, this is possible. I cannot say that this is welcomed by our public. I say this frankly. As in my view, children will have a freer choice when they become adults if they grow up in a traditional family."

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