Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

‘Scare stories’ of Russia’s anti-gay persecution untrue, ambassador to Canada says

Gay rights activists carry rainbow flags as they march during a May Day rally in St. Petersburg on May 1, 2013.

DMITRY LOVETSKY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Russia's ambassador to Canada says Canadians shouldn't believe "scare stories" about the persecution of gay and lesbian people in Russia.

Georgiy Mamedov told reporters Tuesday that Russia respects Canada's experience and judgement, but would follow its "own road" on laws dealing with gay and lesbian rights. Russia faced international scrutiny during the Sochi Winter Olympics for the country's ban on gay "propaganda," which prompted complaints from LGBT rights groups and some athletes.

Facing questions about its decision to hold the games in Russia, the International Olympic Committee said last week that it would consider blocking future Olympic bidders from hosting the Games if their laws are deemed to be discriminatory.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Mamedov said other countries should not be too quick to judge Russia, noting that Canada and the United States have both discriminated against people based on their sexual orientation in the past. "It changes," he said during a press conference. "So I think you shouldn't judge others too severely, because you've come a long [way]. And it takes time."

The ambassador pointed to frequent media interviews during the Games with the owner of a gay club in Sochi as evidence that gays and lesbians are not facing persecution. "Don't believe all these scare stories about persecution of gays in Russia. It's not the case," he said.

Mr. Mamedov added that the massive construction work needed to prepare for the Olympics created new opportunities for Sochi to act as an athletic training centre, tourist destination and host of international summits now that that the Games have ended.

Sochi was in "a very shabby form" before the Olympics, he said. "There were no hotels there. There were no roads, and we couldn't, you know, afford to put the American president in some kind of hole," Mr. Mamedov said. "Now it's a little different and Russian people will be able to spend their summer vacations in Sochi."

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Kim Mackrael has been a reporter for The Globe and Mail since 2011. She joined the Ottawa bureau Sept. 2012. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.