The mayor of Sochi, Russia, is under the delusion that there are no gay people in his city with a population of 343,000 people.
Anatoly Pakhomov spoke with the BBC about international concern that Russia’s “homosexual propaganda” law will be used to arrest LGBT visitors, athletes or their supporters. “Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian Federation and doesn’t impose their habits on others,” Pakhomov responded.
He went on to claim gay people do not have to hide their sexuality in Sochi.
“No, we just say that it is your business, it’s your life. But it’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city,” he said. He later admitted that he isn’t absolutely certain there are no gay people in Sochi. “I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them.”
Nikolay Alekseyev, a Russian gay rights activist, compared Pakhomov’s comments to those of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who once reportedly said, “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals.” Alekseyev said, per RT, gay people are present “in any city, any country, any culture and any historical epoch.”
Russia’s anti-gay law makes it illegal to disseminate information about “nontraditional sexual relations” or “relations not conducive to procreation” to minors, the Associated Press reported. Individuals found in violation of the law could face fines up to 5,000 rubles ($156) or up to 1 million rubles ($31,000) for media organizations. Tourists have already reportedly been detained under this law.