Published February 4, 2014
Shockingly, of the hundreds of thousands of people residing in Sochi, Russia, none of them are gay. At least that’s what mayor Anatoly Pakhomov thinks.
“It’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live,” he said. “We do not have them in our city.”
He apparently hasn’t visited Mayak, the city’s most popular gay nightclub located just off the beach in downtown Sochi.
New York Times Magazine described Pakhomov as “a garrulous, barrel-bellied apparatchik of the new Russia,” and when asked if Sochi had any gay people, Pakhomov wasn’t sure.
“I am not sure, but I don’t know them,” he said.
He does welcome gay guests to visit Sochi, which will host the Winter Olympics in just a few days, as long as they “respect Russian law” and “don’t impose their habits on others.”
Two weeks ago, a group of journalists spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the anti-gay law that is meant to protect children.
“It seems to me that the law that we have adopted does not hurt anyone. Moreover, individuals of non-traditional orientation cannot feel like second-rate humans in this country because they are not discriminated against in any way,” Putin said. “I couldn’t care less about their sexual orientation. We will welcome all athletes and all visitors to the Olympics. None of our guests will have any problems.”