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Mutko: Russia does not intend to infringe someone’s rights

August 19, 2013, 14:41 UTC+3

Russia's Minister of Sport explains his point of view on gay propaganda ban in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass

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Photo ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

Photo ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, August 19. (Itar-Tass). – Russia’s Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko stated that guests and participants of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi could fearlessly come to Russia: there is no intention to infringe someone’s rights or interests in the country. The head of Russian sports authority has commented the situation around the public discourse of the gay propaganda banning law in an interview for Itar-Tass.

“I guess it isn’t even a topic for discussion: nobody disputes it in our country,” Mutko said. “People that always have a problem with us because we are a big country, we start to recover old traditions in sports, Russia has a particular stand in politics, social area, and economy - they just seized the moment. One can do something quietly without saying anything. In Jamaica, for instance, one can be sentenced to 10 years in prison for non-traditional relations. Does someone attack this country? We haven’t heard about that… Maybe, it’s our destiny; people will always try to pique us on occasion or without cause”.

Russia’s Minister of Sport stressed that the World Championships in Athletics that finished in Moscow on Sunday, was not only a sportive but somehow a political forum. “During these nine days we were a sort of global sports center. I talked to many officials coming to Moscow. I asked them to specify what concerned them in our legislation. If we look through Russia’s Constitution, there isn’t any infringement of someone’s rights! On the contrary, the right of personal life is guaranteed to everyone”.

Vitaly Mutko also explained that the law, which caused a public discourse in media, is aimed primarily at informational protection of children. “It was passed in compliance with UN resolution on children's rights protection, where it is clearly specified that we should protect minors from the informational flow. Their mind isn’t formed yet, and children usually cannot make a conscious choice, not dictated by someone. It’s our country; we pass here our own laws. We want to protect children from unnecessary information. When they grow up, they’ll make their own choice. Besides, the liability is administrative, and only in the case you are trying to press upon a child. But this doesn’t impact the rights, freedoms and people’s personal lives!”

Mutko has also commented on Yelena Isinbaeva’s statement about the new law made at a press conference. “Isinbaeva was misunderstood! Lena, a great athlete, was speaking about the fact that today our legislation doesn’t infringe anyone’s rights in any way. She addressed the whole athletic community, saying: you can come easily; your private life is protected. That’s all”.

Speaking about the ‘silent protest’ of Sweden’s high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro that painted her nails in rainbow colors in sign of support to LGBT community representatives and of protest against the Russian law, the Minister added: “Sincerely, I haven’t taken much care about that. Our shot put athlete Yevgenia Kolodko painted her nails with colors of the national flag… So what? You can draw anything you want!” It stands to mention that the action of the Swedish athlete was noticed by IAAF. The management of the organization got in touch with their Swedish colleagues from the Federation of track and field athletics and warned that the athlete may be punished for solecism. “The rules of conduct don’t allow actions of commercial or political nature during the competitions,” Secretary General of the Swedish federation Anders Albertsson specified.

“I think this theme is used very smartly,” Vitaly Mutko resumed. “Russia doesn’t want to infringe someone’s rights or interests. We should send our love to Swedish athletes. Let them paint themselves as they want, do what they want. To interfere in private life – it’s not our business. In Russia, we haven’t this and will not have. And we can guarantee today the freedom of all athletes – our and foreign – and guarantee noninterference in their lives. The fact that we are trying now to protect minors… We’re trying to protect them not only from propaganda of nontraditional relations; we do this from other things like drugs, alcoholism, smoking. From many bad habits”.

In conclusion the Minister of Sport added: “I cannot even identify the source that made a problem of this. Did anyone have any problems during the World Championships in Athletics? Name at least one! We don’t ask what someone’s doing, don’t criticize. Private life is guaranteed by the Constitution! Let all the athletes come to Russia without fear”.

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