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SBD Global/July 29, 2013/Olympics
Russia Assures IOC That Sochi 2014 Athletes, Spectators Exempt From Anti-Gay Law
Published July 29, 2013
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COMING CRITICISM: R-SPORT reported while the law's proponents argue that it is aimed at protecting children from harmful influences, "critics allege that the move is part of a broader crackdown on Russia's gay community." Russia has come under int'l criticism, "including from the European Court of Human Rights, for its treatment of gay people." The anti-gay law "imposes fines for such offenses" from 800,000 rubles ($24,000) to 1M rubles ($30,500) for legal entities, from 4,000 rubles ($120) to 5,000 rubles ($150) for individuals and from 40,000 rubles ($1,220) to 50,000 rubles ($1,530) for officials. Promotion of such relations with the use of mass media or Internet resources will see harsher penalties of 50,000-100,000 rubles ($1,520-$3,050) for individuals, 100,000-200,000 rubles ($3,050-$6,100) for officials and 1M rubles "or 90-day suspension for legal entities" (R-SPORT, 7/26).
SECURITY CONCERNS: In L.A., Daniel Rothberg wrote these laws come just months before Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, "and as a result, they have prompted valid concerns about the safety and security of visitors to the events." But given the intense int'l scrutiny that will be placed on Russia during the Games, it is "highly unlikely that the government would take a controversial action against a pro-gay or openly gay athlete from another country." As the U.S. trends toward widening rights for the LGBT community while Russia walks further away, "some have called for a boycott of the Olympics." Though well-intentioned, "a boycott would do more harm than good." On the flip-side, "participating in the Olympics, as an LGBT athlete or an ally (Russia targets both), would do more good than harm" (L.A. TIMES, 7/26).