Russian Official: ‘Gay Propaganda’ Ban Will Not Apply to Sochi Olympics Guests and Athletes

Igor Ananskikh, deputy chairman of the State Duma's Physical Culture, Sport and Youth Policy Committee, is contradicting recent claims by Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko that athletes and visitors to the Sochi Olympics will not be given any special exemptions from the country's oppressive anti-gay laws, Interfax reports:

AnanskikhRussia's new law that imposes heavy fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under 18 will not apply to the guests and athletes participating in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games on Sochi, Igor Ananskikh, deputy chairman of the State Duma's Physical Culture, Sport and Youth Policy Committee, told Interfax on Friday.

"The Olympic Games is a major international event. We need to be as polite and tolerant as possible. That is why a decision has been made not to raise this issue during the Olympics," he said.

The Russian government's decision not to apply the requirements of this law to the event's guests and participants is "totally logical and correct," he added.

"Russia plans to host large international competitions in the future. The atmosphere at them must be as safe and polite as possible," Ananskikh said.

Regardless of Ananskikh's statements, the spotlight has now been turned on Russia's heinous human rights abuses against LGBT people and will not fade anytime before Sochi.


  1. JMC says

    I’m annoyed that activists are being ignored by the media and that our collective concern for LGBT people in Russia is being confused for concern of Olympic athletes that were obviously never going to be arrested under this law, lest Russia cause an international incident.

  2. JT says

    The idea that guests and athletes will be safe is Russian propaganda in it’s finest form. Who gives out “gay propaganda” to anyone let alone to those under the age of 18 other than their government or their “crazies”? They are trying to “cover their asses” until one of us gets over there who they perceive as gay, and then make him or her “disappear”.

  3. Dastius Krazitauc says

    The Olympic Games are a time of politeness and tolerance, so until that time and after it, they will return to intimidating, beating, and incarcerating people.

  4. Adam says

    The mainstream media needs to understand that our concern is not about the athletes as much as it is about the Russian GLBT people. Let’s not fall for Russia’s tricks.

  5. jamal49 says

    @JLEO71 say let the games go on but encourage all athletes to wear a rainbow lapel in solidarity and make every effort to embarrass the Russian idiots. Someone the other day suggested (I think it was here) that NBC should start each Olympic broadcast with their old peacock symbol but with the tail feathers in the rainbow colours. I’d say let’s bring as much attention to this as possible because it isn’t about the Olympics. It’s about LGBTQ people in Russia who are being persecuted and oppressed and jailed and beaten and raped and murdered.

  6. Wisebear says

    Rainbow pins and flags and other accessories ARE AGAINST THE OLYMPIC RULES. Any athlete who wears a rainbow during the opening ceremonies risks elimination, and since the IOC are being assholes about gay rights, I imagine they will expel athletes, especially if there are demands to enforce the rules, which there surely will be.

    Wearing accessories is not an option.

  7. Keppler says

    Picture the scene: a street in Sochi or in a town nearby. Two police officers have apprehended a man. One holds the captive with his arm twisted behind his back, while the other addresses him. “We are detaining you, Comrade Faggot, for the rainbow pin stuck to your lapel. If you are here for the Olympics, we’ll let you go. If you’re here for some other reason, you’re under arrest.”

    Seems a little improbable, hunh? Almost as improbable as getting two “high-ranking government spokesmen” in Russian to tell the same story in the course of a week about how they plan to handle the presence of gay people at the time of the Olympics. Or to communicate that story to their police, who will implement their decisions. Or to control the local thugs, whom the government has happily co-opted up to now to be the real purveyors of “justice.”

    Maybe it’s just me, but Sochi sounds like it has all the earmarks of a power keg, and I can’t even figure out which of the “high-ranking government spokesmen” has the authority to tell us how Olympic visitors will actually be treated.

    Think I’ll pass.

  8. jsb says

    Even if I could afford to go, I’d be terrified to be in Russia why these laws are on the books.

    As far as the IOC banning rainbow flags and pins, is it to late to have the Olympic uniforms made with a rainbow included in the design/pattern of the fabric?

  9. Victor_in_PA says

    Don’t believe him. They’ve let the Russian Orthodox church take over the country and they are about reasonable as Al Qaeda or the Tea Party. I’m boycotting anything Russian these days anyway.

  10. Rick says

    Anybody who understands Russia knows that Russians could not care less what Americans and Western Europeans think and the more they are pressured by the West, the more likely they are to dig in their heels and take even more extreme measures.

    Make a scene at the Olympics and it will almost certainly be harmful towards the cause of gay rights in Russia.

  11. Geoff says

    “…more polite” simply means a bit more care hiding the arrests, torture and killing of its own LGBT community…so that their money-train isn’t interrupted. Right? Got it.

  12. says

    They’ll be maybe–depending on who’s talking–polite and tolerant and in favor of creating a safe atmosphere during the Olympics, but otherwise they’ll revert to being a Putin-thug nation. As others have said, the concern is more about what happens when they’re not putting on a politeness charade.

  13. AK47 says

    Anyone who visits another country must abide by that country’s laws. Athletes are no exception. Russia is a country who stands up for its values. Dasvidanja

  14. RMc says

    Liar and irrelevant. The money you make off of these games will be used to persecute and oppress LGBT people and to protect the barbarians, both cops and civilians, who are killing and bashing gay people. End the f@#king Naziesque law or there will be violent backlashes.

  15. jomicur says

    It’s very nice that they will be willing to accept the money of gay tourists without jailing them. After the games are over, they can go back to persecuting, torturing and imprisoning their own gay citizens–all with the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church. Isn’t PR wonderful?

  16. DannyEastVillage says

    AK47, that’s exactly what the anti-Semitic Nazis did–stood up for their “values.” It’s hard to overstate how preposterous your posting is.

  17. says

    They can’t even get on the same page about their policy, so what’s to stop one or two assholes from enforcing the laws as written in spite of what Moscow or the IOC promise? It’s nice to talk about people demonstrating but they will be in real danger if they do. I can’t ask anyone to do that. I can say that I would be canceling my travel plans if I had planned on going to Russia. it’s not safe there.

  18. Bill says

    @DannyEastVillage: he’s probably telling the truth. What he stated was that they were suspending the law in this case because they’ve decided that hosting international events in the future is a higher priority. Keep in mind that they are only suggesting suspending the law in Sochi, not elsewhere, and only for the duration of a specific event, so averaged over the whole country, it is a very minor concession. There’s one thing you can always trust a politician to do – look after “number one”. That seems to be the case here.

  19. Dan Cobb says

    Here’s the problem with what’s going on in Russia now….
    You have some POWERFUL homophobic officials in Russia saying that the laws will apply and other powerful officials saying they will not.

    So what’s likely to happen??

    Well, the gay athletes are likely to become the pawns in the game… the powerful homophobes will likely go out of their way to prove that THEY are the more powerful faction and go after any athlete that has anything to do with being gay… and go after them hard! And even going after some athletes who seem appear gay… or even closely scrutinize sports where gays are suspected to be gay. I think this creates an enormously dangerous situation and that the games should either be boycotted… cancelled or moved to a more hospitable environment.

  20. Rexford says

    RE: “‘Russia plans to host large international competitions in the future. The atmosphere at them must be as safe and polite as possible,’ Ananskikh said.”

    That statement is key. It may be too late to get the IOC to do anything about the Olympics, but it’s not too late to press other sporting organizations to not hold future events at all the stadia they’ve built for these games. Make all the construction a bunch of white elephants and wasted money. Oh, and get FIA to pull out of having a Formula 1 Grand Prix there in 2014 at the new race track built in Sochi. That would do way more than a vodka boycott.

  21. Joseph Singer says

    Ah, I see. Be tolerant when someone (the world community) is watching and then be bastards after everyone has gone home. Makes perfect sense to me.

  22. millerbeach says

    Too late. The hate speaks for itself. Russia, you’ve already ruined the Games, and they haven’t even started. I don’t think they should…at least in Russia. Boycott Russia. They do not deserve the honor of hosting the Games.

  23. says

    For a law to be justified, it should be necessary and in the public interest to begin with. Therefore, for this new Russian law banning “promotion of homosexuality to children”, to be necessary it must be to stop something that was happening that needed to be stopped, and the thing that needed to be stopped must be shown not only to have been occurring in the first place, but to be harmful, in this case to children, if it continued.

    So I have to ask, where in Russia was homosexuality ever being promoted to children, and by whom? And what were the results of doing so? No cases were ever adduced to the Duma to show that this was going on and needed to be stopped, and why it was just “homosexual propaganda” and not “heterosexual propaganda” that was going on and needed a new law to stop it.

    I don’t support any kind of propaganda being foisted upon children. I want them to develop as fully rounded human beings naturally, no matter whether they are homosexual or heterosexual.

    So given that there was no “homosexual propaganda” being foisted upon children in the first place, what was the Duma’s motivation for singling out homosexuals as uniquely a source of propaganda, and not heterosexuals? What evidence was there anyway, that you could even persuade a heterosexual child to become homosexual through the means of propaganda, or vice versa for that matter?

    The answer is, there was none, and there is none, and there never will be any. This egregiously manipulative law was unanimously passed with popular support at the behest of the Russian Orthodox Church as a stamp of moral disapproval and animus against gay people, to make them appear a danger to children, to make it appear that we are trying to engineer children into “becoming” homosexuals for nefarious, but never stated motives.

    The effect of this law is that it is now in practice, illegal to be openly gay or to discuss homosexuality in public. It is a criminal offence to provide support services to gay teenagers when they are at their most vulnerable through familial and peer rejection. It could rationally be argued that an openly gay athlete winning a medal in front of children would be committing this diffuse crime of “homosexual propaganda”, and it could in time be construed to be the same for a gay couple holding hands publicly in the street.

    This law should be anathema to all Russians, but they have been lied to through and through. They are clearly not seeing the half of its consequences for LGBT Russians, which we are seeing daily here in the West, because their government censors the media, such that homosexuals can be held up as pariahs, an endlessly renewable resource to blame everything on, from earthquakes to the economy.

    Once the Russian people have gotten used to being able to discriminate without legal censure, against gay and lesbian people, the government will pass more severe laws. Putin will find a legal means to give himself a fourth term. Already the arrests have begun with a Dutch film company arrested, jailed, fined and then deported for making a documentary about the “homosexual propaganda” law.

    There’s not a question in my mind but that the IOC must forthwith remove the Winter Olympics from Russia and relocate to a friendly country that recently hosted the Olympics, such as Greece (who need the money anyway) or the United Kingdom or Canada, and that does not have laws criminalising homosexuality.

    Homosexuals are an easy target because Putin knows we are too small in number ever to be able to defend ourselves against the Tyranny of the Majority. Once you allow one disliked minority to be stripped of some and then one by one eventually all of their civil rights, you can be next. Whatever civil rights you believe you now have, prepare to lose them as Putin becomes more and more like an amalgam of Hitler and Stalin.

    People of Russia, you have been warned.

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