Putin to ’Improve’ Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws?
While Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting Vienna this week, he said he will look into the country’s highly controversial anti-gay laws and "improve" them in the future, Gay Star News reports.
Putin, who was in Vienna to met with Austrian President Heinz Fischer to discuss deals on a pipeline that will supposedly pump half of Russia’s natural gas to Europe, was pressured to answer questions on Russia’s human rights during a press conference.
"There are stereotypes that exist regarding Russia, including on issues of sexual minorities, to a large extent...[are] a fictional idea," Putin said, according to GSN. "Remember, there are many other countries that are far worse on homosexuality, and other manifestations of the so-called sexual orientation. But we will look to the future and will improve legislation in this area."
Putin did not clarify, however, if "improving" the laws means he will strengthen them, making it even harder for Russia’s LGBT community, or change them for the better.
Nevertheless, Ed Mishin, a gay rights activist in Russia, told GSN he doesn’t have high hopes for any positive changes.
"For now, it’s hard to tell what he means by these comments," he said. "I think he is a little bit sick of all the criticism surrounding the issue. In Russia, it is not a problem, but it’s a problem outside. His position is very clear, it is not an ’anti-gay’ law, it’s about protecting children. He has said this type of thing before when he has gone to other countries. Nothing changes, really. And nothing is going to change in the future."