Russian Lawmaker Slams Condom Handout at WWII Eternal Flame

MOSCOW, May 24 (RIA Novosti) – A prominent Russian lawmaker called on Friday for public condemnation of a recent handout of condoms by AIDS activists at an monument in honor of soldiers who died in World War Two.

“The most serious reaction to such things is not the introduction of new administrative bans, but a sharp condemnation by society,” said Olga Batalina, head of the Russian parliament’s committee on family issues.

“This would be the most serious weapon, one in the hands of each of us.”

A group of LGBT activists handed out condoms on Sunday next to the eternal flame in the central Russia city of Togliatti in an attempt to raise AIDS and HIV awareness. They also placed portraits of famous people who had died of AIDS, including former Queen singer Freddie Mercury, next to the monument.

Their actions were condemned by a number of regional WWII veterans, local media reported, but police said they had received no complaints from the public.

More than 69,000 new cases of HIV were recorded in Russia last year, the country’s top public health official said in March.

Gennady Onishchenko said around 720,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Russia since 1987, when the first case was officially registered.


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