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7 Things You Need to Know About Russia and the 2014 Olympics

7 Things You Need to Know About Russia and the 2014 Olympics
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Russia’s anti-LGBT crackdown and the IOC’s failure to act in any meaningful way over Russia’s holding the Winter Olympics in 2014 has generated a lot of press this past week. Here are seven stories to get you caught up with the latest goings on.

1. Russia Interior Minister Confirms: Athletes Will be Subject to the Anti-Gay Propaganda Law

Russia’s interior minister, who in broad terms oversees the country’s police force, has reportedly confirmed that the anti-gay propaganda law will be in force during the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games and that athletes will not be exempt from the law.

“The law enforcement agencies can have no qualms with people who harbor a nontraditional sexual orientation and do not commit such acts [to promote homosexuality to minors], do not conduct any kind of provocation and take part in the Olympics peacefully,” an Interior Ministry statement issued on Monday is reported as saying.

This is contrary to the International Olympic Committee’s previous claims that they had been assured competitors, officials, journalists and spectators would not be affected by the law. It will also serve to increase pressure on the IOC to fully engage on this issue. So far, the IOC has only raised “concerns” and sort “clarification” on the law.

2. The IOC Will Punish Athletes Who Make a Political Statement

Seeing that a Sochi 2014 boycott seems unlikely, and that moving the games appears untenable because the IOC has so far refused to even consider the idea, you might have thought the IOC would allow athletes a measure of freedom to take a stand against Russia’s appalling human rights situation and show solidarity with Russia’s LGBT and minority populations. You would be wrong.

Gay Star News exclusive quotes an IOC spokesperson as saying:

“…the IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration. This rule has been in place for many years and applied when necessary. In any case, the IOC would treat each case individually and take a sensible approach depending on what was said or done.”

3. Meanwhile, Russian State Controlled TV Anchor Says Gay Hearts Should Be Burned

Dmitri Kisilev, the anchor of the state controlled leading news show in Russia, Vesiti, offered these chilling remarks while commenting on Russia’s propaganda law:

I think that just imposing fines on gays for homosexual propaganda among teenagers is not enough. They should be banned from donating blood, sperm. And their hearts, in case of the automobile accident, should be buried in the ground or burned as unsuitable for the continuation of life.

His comments were met with resounding applause, but you would expect nothing less from the propaganda media arm of the Putin administration.

4. Demonstrations Against Russia’s Olympic Hosting Status Begin

Hundreds of people protested in London, England, on Saturday to condemn Russia’s anti-gay violence and the IOC’s lack of interest in engaging on this issue.

Celebrated writer Stephen Fry and world recognized human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell were among those who attended.

During the demonstration Stephen Fry, recognizing that a Sochi 2014 boycott was now unlikely, encouraged athletes to show solidarity with Russia’s LGBT citizens by making a gesture as they accept their medals. Others have mused that participants and spectators might hold hands.

Antwerp also saw a large scale same-sex kiss-in protest with hundreds of activists kissing outside the Belgian city’s Russian consulate to demonstrate against Russia’s anti-gay crackdown.

More protests are planned as the February games near.

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Image credit: Valya V.

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7:20AM PDT on Aug 30, 2013

some of the comments here are disheartening. i hope thousands boycott watching/attending this time

10:37PM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

In Russia not only gay men do not like. In Russia and other nations do not like. All "other" do not like.

10:35PM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

Russia with the subject of gays in the whole world was dishonored.

12:03PM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Further to my last: check out the LGBT's aggressive behaviour in the UK before condemning Russia, as bad as her human rights situation is. In case you're wondering I would NOT condone any violent action towards homosexuals.

11:57AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Respectfully: check the sometimes aggressive propaganda that the LGBT perpetuates in the UK,eg attacking a van that was used to promote traditional marriage and the rights of children to a mum & dad.

6:39AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

The way I see it the Russians are saying to the LGBTs to stay in the closet when you go to Russia.. no need to tell everybody you are a gay; no need to propagandize your sexually confused gender orientation to anyone and most importantly to minors.. and stay contained in your closet..
that's what's the Russian law is about.. and it makes lots of sense: -"you can be gay but I don't want to know about it. so stay in your closet"- -that's what they say..

3:58PM PDT on Aug 18, 2013

Signed on August 9, 2013. Don't kid yourselves - the IOC is very aware of everything going on and all the possible consequences. They just don't think Putin will allow any Olympic athlete(s) to come to harm...Right. Olympic Figure Skater Johnny Weir says he's going and will not be in the closet...I've never seen him in the closet - well, maybe a room-sized closet.
I send prayers with him because this is going to get worse befoe it ever (?) gets better.

The IOC should make better ecurity arrangements because blood will spill.

9:55AM PDT on Aug 18, 2013

Thanks for sharing. the games should be relocated.

8:41AM PDT on Aug 17, 2013

Closed-Minded People, Need To Keep Their Mouths Closed!

10:49AM PDT on Aug 16, 2013

this is terrible thanks

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