Crimean PM says police and military will 'teach gay people what orientation to have' in crackdown on LGBT community
Sergei Aksyonov has banned pride events and adopted Russian anti-gay laws
Wednesday 03 September 2014
The disputed Prime Minister of Crimea has said the state “does not need gay people” and will ban all pro-equality events, threatening a police crackdown.
Sergei Aksyonov, who came to power after the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March, appears to be following Vladimir Putin’s lead in restricting rights for the LGBT community.
Speaking during a government session in Simferopol on Tuesday, he said gay people "have no chance" in the new Crimea and should be “educated” about their orientation.
“We in Crimea do not need such people, and they will never hold their events publicly,” he said according to Interfax news agency.
“The police and self-defence [forces] will react quickly and explain within three minutes the orientation one should hold to.”
He also outlined plans for children to be taught a “positive attitude to family and traditional values”.
Mr Aksyonov, a pro-Russian separatist, became the Prime Minister of Crimea in March after the region voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia in a disputed referendum called “illegal” by the British Government, among others.
Sergei Aksyonov was reportedly nicknamed 'The Goblin" as a businessman in Russia His words echoed the agenda promoting Christian Orthodox values that has been pursued by Mr Putin in recent years, leading to a controversial anti-gay propaganda bill criticised by governments and human rights groups around the world.
The same bill was adopted by Crimea earlier this year, meaning it is illegal to “promote homosexual behaviour among minors”, tell children gay and straight relationships or distribute material promoting LGBT rights.
A gay pride event due to take place in Sevastopol in April was banned following the application of the law.
Similar legislation was to be approved in Ukraine before pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was toppled in February, sparking the current crisis.
In a report on violence in the Ukrainian conflict, the UN noted that the pro-Russian “self-defence” militias still patrolling Crimea are reportedly harassing and abusing Ukrainian nationals, Crimean tartars and “other minorities” without reproach.
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