31 July 2013

Russia’s Treatment of Gays Not at All Like Nazi Germany’s, Putin Says

Russian President Putin.

MOSCOW -- Facing an onslaught of international criticism and threats of a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin today told reporters that recent measures restricting homosexuals and their supporters have been misunderstood.

“Everybody is talking about this as if we were the Nazis, criminalizing homosexuality and even banning speech in support of homosexuality,” Putin said. “This is not Germany in the 1930s.”

Under the terms of recent legislation, anyone suggesting that revered Russian composer Piotr Tchaikovsky was gay is now subject to fines and arrest on grounds of promoting propaganda. Gay or pro-gay foreign visitors are now subject to arrest and detainment for up to 14 days before deportation. These crackdowns on “nontraditional relations” are in no way similar to the Nazis’ treatment of homosexuals, Putin said, adding that thus far, no measure has been passed to require gays in Russia to wear pink triangles on their clothing.

“Homosexuals may walk freely anywhere in Russia,” Putin said, “so long as they don’t hold hands or, you know, skip or sashay or anything like that.”

Demonstrations like this one, in protest of anti-gay legislation,
put Russian homosexuals at risk, Putin said.

By statute and also in unofficial practice that has nothing to do whatever with conditions in Nazi Germany, gays in Russia no longer enjoy the right to assembly; civil authorities deny permits to Pride demonstrations, and against a backdrop of increasing numbers of homophobic attacks across the country, both Pride events and protests of the new legislation have been met with violence and police action in which the peaceful protesters themselves, and not their aggressors, were arrested.

“We do these things for the safety of all our people,” Putin said. “If an angry mob is attacking a homosexual demonstrator, the safest thing is to take that homosexual into custody. The proportion of police beating a demonstrator is much smaller than the proportion of a mob beating a demonstrator. While we Russians do not condone nontraditional relations, we do believe in a good, fair fight.”

Emphasizing his good intentions and his desire to improve Russia’s image abroad, Putin announced a new series of “vacation holiday camps” for homosexuals, mostly located in Siberia.

Gays will enjoy the rustic scenery, Putin said, in vacation camps so remote that “they can make as much noise — they can even scream — and no one will hear them at all.”

“Effective immediately, all homosexuals in Russia and their friends will be sent to these vacation holiday camps for a much-deserved break, free of charge,” Putin said. “Again, this is nothing like what the Germans did to their homosexuals. Special trains will transport the homosexuals and sympathizers in comfort to state-of-the-art facilities in tranquil, remote areas.

“We will treat our guests with the utmost courtesy,” Putin continued, “offering them special weight-loss diets and healthful activities. Housing will be co-educational, but you can’t have everything.

“Now can we please stop talking about the boycott?”

Just one of the many healthful activities offered at the camps.

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