It doesn’t feel like that long since we were talking about Russia’s anti-gay laws and what this means for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. As the Winter Olympics draw closer (it starts on the 7th Feb), all eyes are on Russia. If you missed the last piece or just need to refresh your memory, Click Here for a full lowdown on the country’s laws.
Even with all the negative publicity surrounding the Winter Olympics the Russian government are sticking to their anti-gay laws and don’t seem to be set to budge anytime soon.
Much of the world has been shocked with the Russian laws which even classes talking about homosexuality to under eighteens as being ‘propaganda’.
The Russian government are adamant that their laws will not negatively affect the Winter Olympics. There have been loads of celebrities speaking out against the controversial laws of the country, including Stephen Fry, Elton John, Cher and Ellie Goulding.
The issue has had loads of media attention. This has meant that people all over the world have been campaigning against the human rights breaches happening in Russia. This includes a 200,000 name petition delivered on the 30th January to Moscow by Amnesty International’s UK Director, Kate Allen.
In addition this week, more than fifty current and former Olympic athletes have spoken up and called for the Russian government to re-think their anti-gay laws. The athletes have expressed their disappointment with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and sponsors of the games for not forcing the Russian authorities to make changes to their controversial legislation.
The Olympians have signed up to what’s known as ‘The Principle Six Campaign’. The campaign gets its name from Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter which states that “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” This of course, doesn’t match up with Russia’s anti-gay laws.
There’s a whole load of tension leading up to the games. Both the anti-gay laws and now the terror threats have overshadowed the focus on sports. We can only hope that when the Winter Olympics do come around that it all runs smoothly.
If you want to know more about the Principle 6 Campaign, check out their website here.
The mayor of Sochi has reassured homosexual tourists and athletes that they will be made welcome at the Winter Olympics. This is, of course, providing that they don’t “impose their habits on others”.
Unfortunately what he sees as ‘imposing’ may differ greatly from the way we see it. He justified his views by saying that homosexuality just simply isn’t accepted in the city, and as far as he is aware, there are not any gay people living in the city.
It doesn’t take more than a quick internet search to find the chilling effects of the laws. An increasing number of attacks against gay people and gay rights activists. Many have been by and towards young people. Unfortunately, due to the laws there is not a system in place to protect people from these attacks.
Russia’s laws aren’t all that could be set to overshadow this year’s Winter Olympics. Experts are worried about mounting terror threats against the Sochi Olympics. This means that Russian authorities have not only had to reassure people of the treatment of LGBT people attending the games, but the overall safety of everyone at the games.
The threats to security have meant an overall increase in security in Sochi. There are concerns that there is more potential of a terrorist attack on the outskirts of Sochi. The pressure group in question claims to represent a ‘virtual’ state (one that doesn’t exist in reality but only in the minds of the people who support it) called the Caucasus Emirate.
Basically a Caucasus backed militant Muslim group called Vilayat Dagestan have spun out of the Chechen Republic, forged links to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and recently claimed responsibility for local suicide bombings. The bombers are women whose husbands have been killed by Russian security forces and hence known as ‘Black Widows’.
Having invested 50 billion petro-dollars (money from Russian oil) in Sochi the last thing President Putin wants is a legacy of bloodshed.