News / Europe

Putin Signals Gay Rights Debate Must Not Cloud Games

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Sochi, Feb. 7, 2014.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Sochi, Feb. 7, 2014.
President Vladimir Putin made clear on Friday that he believed the Sochi Winter Olympics were not the place to debate Russia's treatment of gays.
Putin used a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country has criticized Russia on gay rights, to underline the message that politics and sport should not be mixed.
“I know you always give much attention to humanitarian issues and adherence to human rights,” Putin told Rutte in Sochi, shortly before the Games opening ceremony. “We are always open to discussion.”
But the Russian leader added that he had seen a television report in which he said a man in a gay club in the Black Sea resort told journalists: “Leave us alone. Sport is sport. The Olympics are the Olympics. Let's focus.”
“The less aggression there is over [gay rights] from both sides, the better,” he quoted the person as saying.
“I second the assessment that this person made in every way,” Putin said.
The Sochi Games are vital to Putin's legacy and he has staked his personal and political reputation on their success, but he faces an outcry abroad over a law banning the spread of “gay propaganda” among minors.
Putin says the law is needed to defend young people. Critics say it curtails the rights of homosexuals, and gay rights activists say it is fuelling anti-gay violence in Russia.
Putin says Russia does not discriminate against homosexuals and will not do so during the Olympics, but he was booed on a trip to the Netherlands last year.
U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German President Joachim Gauck are not attending the Games, and the U.S. delegation includes openly gay representatives.
Rutte decided to attend the Games despite a petition signed by 38,000 people protesting against the high-level Dutch delegation, which includes King Willem-Alexander, and in spite of boycott calls by Dutch gay rights defenders.
Rutte said last month that his country had concerns about the humans rights situation in Russia but that it was better to engage in dialog than stage a boycott.
His visit follows a difficult year in relations with Russia, including the assault of a Dutch diplomat in Moscow by attackers who scrawled the letters LGBT - standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender - in pink lipstick on his hall mirror.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
February 07, 2014 12:47 PM
Has the winter Olympics turned sex Olympics? What is this thing about sex and gay issues at the games? I think the people are there to take part in games not sex. Who is making all this noise? People should know that this a devilish propaganda by the Devil himself using people who must not let others hear anything else but sex and sensuality. This is horrible! What happens to decorum? What about morality? Why are people not discussing essential things that sustain life and living, why is it sex all the time? We see hand of the Beast in it; don't know what you see or who you are. 666, 999, the antichrist?

by: Casandra Lee from: US
February 07, 2014 11:00 AM
"Putin Signals Gay Rights Debate Must Not Cloud Games..." - Idiot.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs