Russia, unlike the U.S., has a national police force — known as the Politsiya — which reports to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, or the Interior Ministry. This week, in an apparent attempt to quiet growing criticism of Russia’s anti-gay laws ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Interior Ministry told the Russian news agency Interfax that any fears of discrimination “are absolutely groundless and farfetched.”
But the Ministry’s complete statement in fact stokes great fear. The Interior Ministry also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s anti-gay laws, which ban any public support of LGBT people or any apparent LGBT behavior — such as same-sex couples holding hands — have “come into effect and operates in Russia.”
The Interior Ministry added the Politsiya “will act in the framework of the Russian law in general and the law protecting children from harmful information in particular during the Olympics as well as during any other time.”
“Law enforcement authorities will take measures against individuals performing such actions in accordance with the Russian law,” the Ministry added.
In June, Putin literally made it illegal to even tell children in Russia that gay people exist. Now, gay people cannot even hold hands with fear of arrest. And soon, a gay Olympic athlete could be arrested for kissing their same-sex partner after wining an Olympic medal. But most importantly, when the Olympics are over, the Russian LGBT community will still be in Russia — branded as criminals.
By the way, the motto of Russia’s Politsiya is, “By serving the law, we serve the nation!”
Image of Russian Police badge via Wikipedia
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