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President Putin Vows Sochi Games to Be Held 'Without Discrimination'

Published: January 17, 2014 (Issue # 1793)



  • Despite signing into law a bill forbidding the promotion of homosexuality to minors, President Putin has vowed there will be no discrimination at the coming Sochi Games.
    Photo: Kremlin.ru

With three weeks to go until the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia's President Vladimir Putin vowed the Games would be held without any discrimination against athletes and visitors.

In June, Putin signed into law a bill forbidding the promotion of homosexuality to minors, sparking months of controversy ahead of the February 7-23 event in Sochi.

While the laws proponents argue it is aimed at protecting children from harmful influences, critics allege the move restricts freedom of speech and is part of a broader crackdown on Russias gay community.

The Games will be held in complete compliance with the Olympic Charter, without any discrimination on the basis of any characteristic, Putin said.

The Olympic Charter states that: Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.

Putin has previously said that Russia will do everything to ensure a warm welcome for Sochi guests regardless of sexual orientation.

Russia's Interior Ministry, which controls the police, has vowed to enforce the controversial anti-gay law at the Olympics. There will also be tight restrictions on protests, which are confined to a park in a small town that lies more than 12 kilometers from any Olympic venues.

Implementing the protest zone also complies with the Olympic charter, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said last week.

U.S. President Barack Obama will not attend the Games, and his nomination of two gay former athletes to America's Olympic delegation has been widely interpreted as a comment on the Russian law.

See also:

Putin Offers Assurances on Gay Rights at Sochi Olympics

Sochi Asks IOC to Help Stop Gay Law 'Speculation





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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