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Putin rescinds blanket ban on demonstrations at Sochi Olympics

Saturday, January 4, 2014
Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service (AP, RIA-Novosti)Russian President Vladimir Putin, foreground left, and Railways Chief Vladimir Yakunin, second right, visit the Olympic Park railway station at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, southern Russia, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.

Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service (AP, RIA-Novosti)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, foreground left, and Railways Chief Vladimir Yakunin, second right, visit the Olympic Park railway station at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, southern Russia, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has rescinded a blanket ban on demonstrations in and around the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi.

An order published on the Kremlin’s website Saturday says that meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, marches and picketing that is not connected with the games may be held in places or along routes approved by the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the country’s police.

Putin last year ordered a ban on any demonstrations in Sochi not connected with the games from Jan. 7 to March 21. The move was widely criticized by human rights organizations.

Although the Saturday order lifts the blanket ban, Russian authorities generally are stingy about granting rally permission to opposition groups and critics.

International Olympic Committee head Thomas Bach said last month that Russia had promised to set up public protest zones in Sochi. It was not clear if the order published Saturday envisioned limiting demonstrations to such zones.

“We welcome this announcement – it is in line with the assurances that President Putin gave us last year and part of the Russian authorities’ plans to ensure free expression during the games while delivering safe and secure Games,” Mark Adams, a spokesman for the IOC.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Saturday appeared to indicate that protests would be allowed only in one place.

“The organizers of the Olympic Games together with the leaders of the Krasnodar Region and Sochi City Hall have been ordered by the president to choose a square in the city where rallies, demonstrations and other events – including of a protest character where necessary – could be held freely,” Peskov was quoted as saying by the R-Sport news agency.

The Russian law passed last year that bans promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors prompted calls by gay activists and others for a boycott of the Sochi games, which begin Feb. 7. Even before the law, Russian authorities routinely banned applications to hold gay rights rallies and quickly broke up attempts at unauthorized gatherings.

Putin was in Sochi on Saturday to inspect preparations for the games, which are the signature project of his presidency. The day included a ride on the light-rail line connecting the snow-sports area in the mountains to the cluster of arenas on the Black Sea coast where the ice sports will be held.

Concern about security at the Olympics spiked this week after two suicide bombings in the city of Volgograd killed 34 people. Although there has been no claim of responsibility for the bombings, the leader of the Islamist insurgency in Russia’s Caucasus region had called last year for attacks aimed at the Olympics or undermining them.

Russia has implemented high security measures for the Olympics themselves, but the Volgograd attacks showed that public transportation in Sochi and non-Olympics venues could be vulnerable to terrorism.

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60 more reader comments:

  1. you know whats funny and ironic? Putin means “little faggot” in spanish

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:40pm
  2. I don’t trust anything this fucker has to say. Ever spent a few nights in a Russian Prison and had to deal with Russian Police? They are corrupt as Hell.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:41pm
  3. I wouldn’t believe one thing of what they say.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:43pm
  4. We should not be there.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:44pm
  5. Is that his body guard next to him? How camp is HIS Jacket!

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:46pm
  6. I know, I'm trying my best to suppress my inner "Karen Walker" and not shriek "Honey, what's going on here?".

    Replied on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:15pm
  7. The better to shoot you with, my dear.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:46pm
  8. Anyone ever noticed how hilariously silly Putin’s face looks? :P I know he can’t help it, but… those overly sad eyebrows, that tiny chin, those tiny dot eyes, that big nose… it looks unintentionally funny, I can’t help it.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:52pm
  9. He’s more evil than Hitler could ever of been

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:52pm
  10. ...do you even know what you are implying? Putin is a human-rights violator. At worst he is a dictator. Which is disgusting in all manners of the word and I dislike him far more than I do my own corrupt president (Jacob Zuma)...BUT...Jesus Christ, do you even know what Hitler did? Who he was?

    Replied on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:36pm
  11. The real abomination is that he allows people to wear blue parkas like that! Obviously the designers were lacking “flair”, because it looks like vomit on a blue Michelin Man. Now that’s out of the way… I don’t trust these idiots either. I’ll be very curious to see just what kind of turnout the Sochi Olympics will have. I’m sure if the stands look empty, Putin will send prisoners to fill the stands to make it look like a success.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:56pm
  12. Tsar liberator….thank you so much

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:56pm
  13. He’s trying so hard to be “democratic”…. it’s NOT working!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:00pm
  14. Like he ever had a choice

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:00pm
  15. been to Russia 9 times, and the cops there are nothing but criminals. we were speeding, and my friend just gave the cop 100 dollars like it was nothing and he let us go. crazy country.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:03pm
  16. Hitler wanna be

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:19pm
  17. is there any sportsman or ppl who like sport going there?

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:19pm
  18. Read the fine print, this is nothing more than Jorge Boosh’s protest cages.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:22pm
  19. Of course he did, that way they can blame “Terrorists” for the piss poor security.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:34pm
  20. Fun Fact: The Olympics haven’t even started yet and they are ALREADY embarrassing. Fuck Putin.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:34pm
  21. WHY THE HELL are they still being held there?

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:36pm
  22. Does Putin just need to get laid or Smthg?

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:44pm
  23. Hey all,

    I have set up a forum for all gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender people out there. Sorry if your area is on here this is all I could think of. But it is for the whole of the UK and other countries…

    The forum address: lgbtuk.boards.net
    Thanks a bunch and even if they isn’t many of us there at the start I will still post daily for you guys.

    Adam.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:58pm
  24. Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:24pm
  25. It so looks like it!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:24pm
  26. Adam, we are just starting one in our area Corby Northants. At our local art gallery

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:27pm
  27. Cray-cray….

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:31pm
  28. Down with Putin!

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:37pm
  29. So he’s still a prick

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:46pm
  30. Jeremiah Morley yes I know what ive implied putin is a very dangerous man not only to the lgbt community in Russia but globally & his intolerance will only get worse once the sochi 2014 games are out of the way

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:47pm
  31. comical..love this mickey mouse coat..skip to my lou..wheres the MEN?

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:51pm
  32. Cost of indulgence: Rise in #violence and suicides among #LGBT youth in #Russia by O.Kucheryavenko and K.Guskov http://www.hhrjournal.org/2013/12/18/cost-of-indulgence-rise-in-violence-and-suicides-among-lgbt-youth-in-russia/

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:56pm
  33. Yeah, he rescinds the blanket ban on demonstrations, so he can round them up and send them to the freezing far north to the gulags!

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 6:59pm
  34. Oh good for you Vlad.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 7:08pm
  35. The Olympics should not be held in Russia, the president is evil

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 7:12pm
  36. Just a little rap to get people thinking (and reading) about equality and human dignity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdAyGbmeGBg

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 7:25pm
  37. Whatever…should be a boycott…he’ll only abuse our community more after the world leaves….

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 7:37pm
  38. there is a fb group called “send Vladimi Putin a dildo…well I belong to it to-check out there page..

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 7:50pm
  39. so lets think there were bombings and then he lifts the ban on demonstrations connection ” i think so”

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 7:53pm
  40. THERE IS A RESEMBLANCE BETWEEN PUTIN AND ZIMMERMAN…

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 8:10pm
  41. Dear Putin: That’s not the point, you cunt.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 8:13pm
  42. Does that mean I can bring my blankie!

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 8:28pm
  43. If Putin was persecuting any other minority group the UN and allied forces would be there to stop it, and the US would cut off all financial ties. Shame!

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 8:39pm
  44. Putin is a commie and a right wing hero. My how quickly things change on a partisan whim.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 9:19pm
  45. It’s the only way he can save face. The events are going to be bombarded by world critics of his hateful gay bashing. If he “lifts” the ban then he doesn’t have to look like a twerp when he has all of those protests thrown in his face and has no means to stop it without showing the world what an evil little tyrant he is. (Oh wait,…too late on that last part. )

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 9:35pm
  46. Ass face

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 10:08pm
  47. Window dressing!

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 10:36pm
  48. I’ll believe it when there are protests of his anti-gay laws, and no one gets arrested

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 10:40pm
  49. Anyone surprised?

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 11:02pm
  50. Ignorant POS!

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 11:36pm
  51. Please. now and forever, NO BAN!!!

    Posted on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 1:02am
  52. There is going to be trouble at the games and I still believe they should be canceled by the IOC in defiance of Putin’s anti gay laws. Two terror attacks this past week in cities around Sochi puts everyone in danger and even though Putin is rescinding the ban on demonstrations they are allowing them to be held in only one (1) place, that leaves an awful lot of room for Russian police to beat the hell out of people for any thing they deem gay. The IOC has screwed the pooch on this one and if anything happens I pray that their asses burn.

    Posted on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 2:06am
  53. He looks worry or he is still constipated? That man needs a good colonic to clan his brain that it’s so full of !@#@!

    Posted on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 3:38am
  54. I smell bullshit!

    Posted on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 4:12am
  55. Wish I could be there and demonstrate with all of the activists. I would show up every single day waving the rainbow flag!

    Posted on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9:33am
  56. Putin… Typical Russian nasty despot… Looking like a Miserable turd he is … BOYCOTT Putin’s Brutally Nasty Olympics !!! WE Will and all who Profiteer and promote it … !

    Posted on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 12:38pm
  57. Personally, I’d like to see the Olympics move to Vancouver Canada because we are so much more accepting of the gay community here.

    Posted on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 1:32pm
  58. He’s a small man like Hitler, Napoleon, Il Duce and other wee men. They have little boy syndrome so have to try and compensate. Feel sorry for him but remember the lessons learnt from these wee tiny small “minded” boys.

    Posted on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 2:01pm
  59. The man reminds me of a fish… trying to remember which kind…

    Posted on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 3:21pm
  60. They are planning staged demonstrations. Great.

    Posted on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 3:43pm