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Mayor Of Sochi: There Are No Gay People In My City

With the upcoming Sochi Olympics being somewhat overshadowed by the controversy surrounding Russia’s ban on so-called “gay propaganda,” the Mayor of Sochi has chimed in to claim that there are no gay people in Sochi:

The mayor of Sochi, host of the Winter Olympics, has said there are no gay people in the city.

Anatoly Pakhomov said homosexuals were welcome at the Games – as long as they “respect Russian law” and “don’t impose their habits on others”.

Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov said there were several gay bars in Sochi.

(…)

Anatoly Pakhomov, a member of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, told Panorama that gay people would be welcome at the Games.

“Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian Federation and doesn’t impose their habits on others”, he said.

But when asked whether gay people had to hide their sexuality in Sochi, the Mayor said: “No, we just say that it is your business, it’s your life. But it’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city.”

When challenged, the mayor admitted that he was not certain there were no gay people in Sochi: “I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them.”

The BBC didn’t have trouble finding gays in Sochi, though, although many were understandably reluctant to identify themselves:

BBC Panorama reporter John Sweeney visited a gay bar in Sochi the night before he interviewed the mayor.

Most people did not want to be filmed and those that did were cautious about what they said.

Drag queen Madaore.me Zhu-Zha said there was a gay community in the city and in other areas of Russia.

“There are very many clubs for gay people in Moscow – in Sochi we have two gay clubs as well. In some places there’s serious prejudice against gay people. In other places it’s not as bad.”

The Sochi 2014 organising committee told BBC Panorama it was working hard to ensure the Games will be remembered for their diversity.

Boris Nemtsov, former Deputy Prime Minister and now a leader of the opposition, said the mayor’s claim was laughable.

“As far as I know there are several gay clubs in Sochi.

Perhaps the Mayor needs to get out more.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Pinky says:

    No gay people, but plenty of ice-dancing fans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  2. stonetools says:

    Heck, I’m pretty sure there are Republicans in states like Mississippi and Alabama who would say there are no gays among their constituents, either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  3. legion says:

    Mayor Of Sochi: There Are No Gay People In My City Closet

    Fixed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. ernieyball says:

    @stonetools:..there are Republicans in states like Mississippi and Alabama who would say there are no gays among their constituents,..

    Maybe those R’s who live in the Heart of Dixie and The Hospitality State are looking at this map…

    http://www.logcabin.org/become-a-member/chapters/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. PD Shaw says:

    If the BBC reporter went to an Irish bar in Sochi, would that mean there are Irish in the city? I’ve been to gay bars in a few cities; that doesn’t make me gay. Maybe nobody in the bar is gay, they just enjoy gay culture or they are women trying to avoid over-aggressive men or perhaps they are hetero-sexual men tracking women hiding in gay bars. Perhaps the reporter should have done some real reporting and posted a selfie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @PD Shaw: You selling beach front property too PD?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. CSK says:

    Would that he could say the same of terrorists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. grewgills says:

    @stonetools:
    That depends on how you define constituent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. grewgills says:

    @PD Shaw:

    I’ve been to gay bars in a few cities; that doesn’t make me gay.

    No, but it is rather difficult to find a gay bar to go to without any homosexuals around. A gay bar with no gays is just a bar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  10. bill says:

    if by “gay” he means “happy” then i could see it, especially in the slums across the tracks.
    once the male figure skaters arrive……well then that theory is shot!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  11. PD Shaw says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No, but I have oceanfront property in Arizona that my wife’s family needs to move quickly.

    My earlier comment was supposed to be humorous and not at all serious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  12. PD Shaw says:

    @grewgills: A couple blocks from where I am typing there was a bar that at one time had a sign on the door “Not a Gay Bar.” I didn’t know why such a sign would be necessary unless it was a gay bar and they didn’t want outsiders to know, so I reckon everyone who went inside was actually gay. I’ve never been to Sochi, so I don’t if the same principle applies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. DC Loser says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. al-Ameda says:

    Anatoly Pakhomov said homosexuals were welcome at the Games – as long as they “respect Russian law” and “don’t impose their habits on others”.

    So, gays in Russia (if they exist) go door -to-door like the Jehovah Witness people, and try to convert people?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. An Interested Party says:

    So, gays in Russia (if they exist) go door -to-door like the Jehovah Witness people, and try to convert people?

    It’s rather amusing that many of those who really do think this way are themselves among the biggest proselytizers on the planet…projection…such a beautiful thing…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. jd says:

    @PD Shaw:

    Maybe nobody in the bar is gay, they just enjoy gay culture

    I guess the owners must have watched La Cage aux Folles a few times.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. CB says:

    @al-Ameda:

    So, gays in Russia (if they exist) go door -to-door like the Jehovah Witness people, and try to convert people?

    In the fever dreams of idiots, yes, yes they do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. grewgills says:

    @PD Shaw:

    so I reckon everyone who went inside was actually gay. I’ve never been to Sochi, so I don’t if the same principle applies.

    It does, everyone that goes to Sochi is gay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    http://www.karate-sktp.info

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0