Russian president Vladimir Putin says that his country is not homophobic, and blames the West for placing that label on Russia.
“Russia recognises and does not infringe on the rights of non-traditional sexual orientation,” said Putin, at a meeting with human rights leaders, adding, “[the homophobic] label is attached by other countries.”
He continued, “It is a label attached to the Russian Federation by other countries, especially by those which have criminal responsibility for people of non-traditional sexual orientation. [Homosexuality] is not the choice of our society, but those are people whose rights are not cut.
“[It’s not our] intention to persecute people of whatever non-traditional orientation. We are not punishing anyone, but traditional family, healthy nation — those are our choices.
“One does not exclude the other, and one does not affect the other. I believe, a balanced approach like this is absolutely correct.”
Despite these claims by the president, homophobic attacks by vigilante groups have become widespread in the state.
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