Vladimir Putin: 'I know some people who are gay, we're on friendly terms'

Defending Russia’s ban on 'gay propaganda', Mr Putin claimed the law 'doesn't harm anybody' and that there's 'no discrimination' in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed he has no prejudice against gay people, adding that he is even on “friendly terms” with some.

His words follow an earlier statement in which he said gay people “can feel relaxed and comfortable” at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi - as long as they “leave the children in peace”.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Putin asserted that there was a ban on the “propaganda of homosexuality” rather than being gay - a law which he claimed “doesn’t harm anyone,” or put gay people in danger.

The statement, apparently aimed at offering assurances to gay athletes and spectators, is set to cause further outrage however after Putin seemingly linked homosexuality with paedophilia.

“We have recently passed a law prohibiting propaganda, and not of homosexuality only, but of homosexuality and child abuse, child sexual abuse,” he said.

Vladimir Putin: Gay people at Sochi Winter Olympics must 'leave children in peace'

“But this is nothing to do with persecuting individuals for their sexual orientation. There's a world of difference between these things.

“So there's no danger for individuals of this non-traditional sexual orientation, who are planning to come to the Games as visitors, or participants.”

Insisting that there was no professional or social discrimination against gay people in Russia, he used the example of Sir Elton John - who condemned the law during a recent performance in Moscow - as an “extraordinary person” loved by millions “regardless of his sexual orientation”.

He added: “Read our law carefully - and pay attention to its name. It's called a 'ban on the propaganda of paedophilia and homosexuality'. There are countries, including in Europe, where they're debating the possibility of legalising paedophilia. Publicly discussing this, in parliament.”

The controversial law passed in June threatens fines for anyone who provides information about paedophilia and homosexuality to people under 18.

Vladimir Putin’s attack on homosexuality is shattering the lives of Russians

“It seems to me that the law we adopted doesn't harm anybody. What's more, homosexual people can't feel inferior here, because there is no professional, career or social discrimination against them,” the Russian President told the BBC.

Asked whether athletes or spectators who protest against the law could face action against them, Mr Putin said: “Protest actions and propaganda are two slightly different things. Similar, but from a legal point of view, protesting against a law is not the same as propaganda for homosexuality or child abuse.”

In the south Russian city of Voronezh on Saturday, security guards detained a gay rights protester for waving a rainbow flag in an attempt to disrupt the Olympic torch relay.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy