MOSCOW, August 9 (R-Sport) – Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Friday the Western backlash against the country’s controversial “gay propaganda” legislation and worldwide calls for a boycott of the Sochi 2014 Olympics are merely attempts to undermine Russia’s athletic performance next February.
“I would call this a bit of pressure ahead of the Olympics,” Mutko said. “Russia should understand that the stronger we are, the more they don’t like it.”
The law, which was signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, bans the “propagandizing” of homosexuality to minors. It has triggered an angry response from gay rights supporters, who have called for a boycott of the games over what they see as a flagrant violation of human rights.
US President Barack Obama told American talk show host Jay Leno Wednesday he has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate or are harmful to them.”
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird earlier this month called the law an “incitement to intolerance, which breeds hate.”
Russian officials have made apparently contradictory statements about how strictly the law will be enforced during the Games, prompting the IOC to ask for clarification on Friday.