Thursday, August 1, 2013

Russian law and order

If I had had any plans to attend the 2014 Olympics in Russia, the remarks by Russia's minister of sports would have derailed them.
Russia’s minister of sports, Vitaly L. Mutko, said on Thursday that foreign athletes traveling to Russia for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi would be expected obey a new Russian law banning “homosexual propaganda” or face criminal prosecution.

...

“No one is forbidding a sportsman with a nontraditional sexual orientation to come to Sochi,” Mutko said. “But if he goes out on the street and starts to propagandize it, then of course he will be held accountable. Even if he’s a sportsman, when he comes to a country, he should respect its laws.”

What it means "to propagandize", of course, is up to Russia's government. You know, the one that nice Mr. Putin runs. That nice Mr. Putin who has thrown his lot in with Russia's homegrown versions of that hatemongering asshole, Fred Phelps. Or, to be fair, that nice Mr. Putin who might be a Russian version of Fred Phelps.

I might be able to obey your silly little law, Mr. Mutko, but I could never respect it. Just as well, then, that I have no plans to visit anytime soon. Russia seems to be happily reverting to its baser instincts. If you have Russian travel plans — well, maybe you ought to rethink them.

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