All principles of Olympism, particularly those banning discrimination of people on any grounds, will be observed during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
At the same time, Putin suggested that the United States is making attempts to discredit the upcoming Olympics.
"We don't have laws targeting people with nontraditional sexual orientation. You are creating the illusion for millions of spectators that we have such laws, but Russia doesn't have any such laws," the Russian presidential press service quoted Putin as saying in an interview with Channel One television and the Associated Press available on the presidential website.
"Russia has adopted a law banning propaganda of nontraditional sexual orientation among minors, and, first, these are absolutely different things," Putin said. "Second, we see that attempts are being made to somehow discredit the organization of the future Olympic Games, particularly based on this criterion. And, unfortunately, we see these attempts, including those coming from the United States. What would I like to say in this connection? First, people with nontraditional orientation are not restricted either in professional terms, or in terms of the level of their pay, or even, if they have some achievements in art, in their work, they are not restricted even in terms of recognition of their achievements by the state - I mean awarding them with orders and medals. They enjoy absolutely all rights and are equal citizens of the Russian Federation," he said.
"I think the authors of this law were guided primarily by the need to resolve demographic problems and were far from the idea of infringing upon anyone's rights," he said.
"And it is absolutely certain that, during the Olympic Games and other mass sporting events, especially the Olympic Games, one can be absolutely sure that Russia will strictly adhere to the principles of Olympism, which do not allow for the discrimination of people on any grounds, be it ethnic, gender, or the one you are talking about, the grounds of sexual orientation," Putin said.
The 22nd Winter Olympics in Sochi will take place on February 7 to February 23, 2014.
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