MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin told a group of political leaders Wednesday that the nation and its people and government shouldn’t adopt a xenophobic attitude towards people with different sexual orientations.
His statement came after a question was posed to the Russian leader as lawmakers expressed concerned about the rising levels of violent attacks against LGBTQ Russians and other minorities in the Russian Federation.
“Not on the same principle, we should not create a society such xenophobia against anyone else, including in respect of people with different sexual orientation,” Putin said at a meeting with leaders of non-parliamentary parties.
“You know, as I listened to a lot of criticism – but all that we have done at the government, at the legislative level – it was all due to a limitation of propaganda among minors,” he added.
Putin signed a law banning “the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships” this past June, which sparked international outrage and criticism from activists and western political leaders.
The bill was part of a series of legislative measures advanced by the Russian Parliament, including the ban of adoption of Russian children by foreign LGBT individuals and same-sex couples, or couples from nations which have legalized same-sex marriage.
Russian LGBT rights activist Viacheslav Revin took exception to Putin’s remarks telling LGBTQ Nation Thursday: “You can explain it (Putin’s statement) in three words. It’s a lie.”
“If he wants to really talk about changing policy on LGBT people, then he can arrest all the ‘Occupy Pedophilia’ participants in all regions of Russia,” said Revin. “In dozens of cities there are dozens of victims of extrajudicial reprisal and homophobic bullying.”
Article continues belowSince ban on “gay propaganda” took effect, dozens of incidents have been documented where members of the Russian LGBT community has been harassed, kidnapped, beaten, raped, and arrested, and for gathering in public or protesting the law.
The group, Occupy Pedophilia, has produced numerous videos on the Russian social media giant VK.com as well as YouTube, documenting violent and homophobic harassment of men the group claims were seeking to have sex with minor boys. The group has also targeted LGBT youth for bullying and assault by creating fake social media profiles and gay personals to attract unsuspecting victims.
There have also been at least two murders of gay men in the past six months.