The city of Sochi in Russia has a small population of around 400,000 but aside from being an Olympic host city, its mayor is proud of another fact about their place: it does not have a single gay residing in it.
REUTERS/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA No Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to a journalist's question during a televised news conference in Sochi January 19, 2014. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Kremlin
Canada.com wrote that in the recent interview of Anatoly Pakhomov with Panorama magazine, he said, "We don't have them in our town." However, he made it certain that all gay visitors and athletes during the coming Olympics in the city will stay safe. His message is clear as to the extent of the hospitality they are willing to offer to everyone:
"Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian Federation and who doesn't impose their habits and their will on others. But yes, everyone is welcome."
When Mayor Pakhomov was pressed on how sure he is with his claim, he only offered a quick answer. "I am not sure, but I don't bloody know any," he stated.
In short, his recent claim just adds a more odd twist to the gay rights saga that was started by President Vladimir Putin, Yahoo reports. Russia has been hot in the news even before being chosen as the Winter Games host due to the new law that does not tolerate any "gay propaganda" on minors. Critics added though that such a law also puts a stop on all gay rights advocacy within the country.
The President though tried to calm down the controversial concerns by stating that the gay community did not suffer from any discrimination under his leadership. "But please leave the children in peace," he emphasized.
Mr Putin even defused the issues all the more by mentioning in his interviews that he has gay friends within his circle too and even a fan of world acclaimed singer Elton John. The president together with his ministers has always found a way to defend the law at every possible point. He even encouraged increasing the birth rate of Russia to serve as justification to put off homosexuality.
The Games which will be held in Sochi, Russia will run from Feb. 7 to 23, 2014.