Russian Official to Sochi Olympics Athletes: ‘Relax’ And ‘Respect’ Russia’s Anti-Gay Law

Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on Thursday, told reporters at a press conference in Moscow that gay athletes and organizations should “relax” about his country’s anti-gay laws, but respect them.

Just a week ago, Mutko warned athletes and visitors that they will not be given any special exemptions from the nation’s recently passed anti-gay laws that make it a crime to spread “homosexual propaganda” to minors.


Reuters reports:

When asked how it would affect athletes competing in the championships beginning on Saturday and next year’s winter Olympics in Sochi, Mutko was dismissive of any concerns.

“I want to ask you to calm down as in addition to this law we have a constitution that guarantees all citizens a private life,” he told a packed news conference in a Moscow hotel.

“It is not intended to deprive people of any religion, race or sexual orientation but to ban the promotion of non-traditional relations among the young generation.

“All the athletes and organisations should be relaxed, their rights will be protected…but of course you have to respect the laws of the country you are in.”

IAAF president Lamine Diack was similarly unconcerned about a law that led British writer Stephen Fry to compare the Sochi Games to the Nazi-controlled Berlin summer Olympics of 1936.

“I don’t feel there is a problem whatsoever,” he said.

“There is a law that exists, it has to be respected, we are here for the world championships and have no problem whatsoever and I’m not worried at all.”