Gay people in Russia experience no discrimination in their profession, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
“People of non-traditional sexual orientation are in no way abused professionally, or when it comes to the level of salaries, or even if they achieve something creatively in their work. They are not abused even from the viewpoint of the government’s recognition of their achievements, when they get awards, medals,” Putin said in the interview to the Channel One TV.
“They are absolutely fully valued citizens of the Russian Federation, equal in their rights,” Putin stressed.
In June, Putin signed a controversial law banning the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors.
The move sparked outcry abroad with many athletes and celebrities called to boycott the Winter Olympics due in the Russian city of Sochi in Feb 2014. US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have also condemned the law.
“I work with such people, I sometimes give state medals and awards to them for their achievements in various fields,” Putin said.
He expressed his hope the law would not have negative consequences for the Sochi Olympics.
“Russia will strictly support the Olympic principles that do not allow discrimination against people for any reason – nationality, gender, or anything else you mentioned, including sexual orientation,” he assured.
Putin added that he could meet with gay community’s activists to discuss their problems, should they ask him for such a meeting.