MOSCOW, January 23 (RIA Novosti) – Threats to the rights of gay people in Russia are an issue that has been “invented” abroad, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview broadcast late Thursday.
“This situation has caused a commotion in other countries. I think it is an invented problem,” Medvedev said in an interview with CNN, according to a transcript released by the Kremlin.
A law passed by Russia last year that forbids the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships toward children has been widely condemned and has overshadowed the Winter Olympics, due to open in Sochi next month.
US President Barack Obama will not attend the Games, and his nomination of two gay former athletes to his country’s delegation has been widely interpreted as a comment on the Russian law.
“I have the impression that the real situation inside the country and its interpretation abroad exist in two different universes,” Medvedev told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Very few people in Russia are actually concerned about the legislation, Medvedev said.
Russia has sought to allay international concerns about the use of the anti-gay law during the upcoming Olympics. President Vladimir Putin said last week that gay people should feel at ease in Sochi, but urged them to “leave children in peace.”
Medvedev said he was not aware of any cases of the new law being used in practice.
At least three gay activists have reportedly been found guilty of promoting non-traditional relationships and ordered to pay fines by Russian courts since the law was signed by Putin in June.