Russia slams Europe for ‘aggressive promotion’ of gay rights

Foreign Ministry report also alleges rising xenophobia, racism and violent nationalism in EU

Russia, under fire for its crackdown on gay rights ahead of the Sochi Olympics, has accused the European Union of "aggressive promotion" of the rights of sexual minorities.
Sergei Karpukhin/AFP/Getty Images

A Russian human rights report released Thursday lashed out at European Union nations for its "aggressive promotion" of the rights of sexual minorities, the latest in a spate of anti-gay statements from Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration.

The 150-page Russian Foreign Ministry report on the state of human rights across the EU criticized the rise of xenophobia, racism, violent nationalism and chauvinism — notably in eastern nations with Russian minorities — as well as anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism.

It also claimed that EU nations, while championing human rights worldwide, saw as "one of their priorities the dissemination of their neo-liberal values as a universal lifestyle."

"This is particularly evident in their aggressive promotion of the sexual minorities' rights," the report said.

Noting protests in France last year over the legalization of same-sex marriage, the report said this approach had met resistance not only in nations with traditional values "but also in those countries which have always taken a liberal attitude towards queers."

"Attempts have been made to enforce on other countries an alien view of homosexuality and same-sex marriages as a norm of life and some kind of a natural social phenomenon that deserves support at the state level," the report said.

Russia has faced strong international criticism ahead of the Sochi Olympics next month for adopting anti-gay legislation that punishes "propaganda" of homosexuality directed at minors with fines or even imprisonment.

In an interview with the BBC on Sunday, Putin said Russia needed to "cleanse" itself of gays if it wants to improve its birth rate and ward off pedophilia. But he insisted that gay fans should be "at ease" in Sochi.

"There are no fears for people with this nontraditional orientation who plan to come to Sochi as guests or participants,” he said.

As Russia alleges rising racism in neighboring Europe, the country’s soccer fans have been embroiled in a series of racist incidents targeting black players. Some players have floated the idea of boycotting the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Foreign Ministry report was released by the ministry's human-rights commissioner, Konstantin Dolgov, before a summit in Brussels on Jan. 28 with top EU officials and Putin.

But Dolgov denied that Moscow's criticism of the EU over rights was in any way linked to the upcoming games.

"Now everything is linked to Sochi," he told reporters. "We are asking, try not to politicize the games."

Al Jazeera and Agence France-Presse

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