Russia’s new laws forbidding public discussion of gay rights or relationships aka “gay propaganda”, have received widespread criticism as we get closer to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, but Vladimir Putin found an ally this week in the form of world champion pole vaulter, Yelena Isinbayeva. As the New York Times’ David Herszenhorn and Christopher Clary report, Isinbayeva told the media she supports the anti-gay legislation, and encouraged visiting athletes to, y’know, shut the fuck up.
“It’s unrespectful to our country,” Isinbayeva said at a news conference Thursday. “It’s unrespectful to our citizens because we are Russians. Maybe we are different than European people, than other people from different lands. We have our law, which everyone has to respect.”
Isinbayeva also described the legislation as reflecting the legitimate social and cultural views of Russia.
“It’s my opinion also,” she said, adding: “You know, to do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation, because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people. We just live boys with women, and women with boys. It comes from history.”
U.S. runner Nick Symmonds replied on Thursday: “It blows my mind that such a young, well-traveled, well-educated woman would be so behind the times. She said ‘normal, standard people’ in Russia? Guess what: a lot of these people with Russian citizenship are normal, standard homosexuals. They deserve rights, too.”
“I’d like that people not combine the Olympic movement with such problems as nontraditional relationships or something else,” Isinbayeva said. “These are two different things. They do not have to mix.”