Russian Athletes Kiss on Winners Podium to Protest Anti-Gay Law 


Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova kiss on the podium celebrating gold in the 4x400m at the World Championships in Moscow.
Did These Russian Athletes Kiss To Protest Anti-Gay Law?
Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova's kiss 'was not a political gesture'.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko says the controversy over his country's anti-gay propaganda law is "an invented problem" by Western media.
The new legislation, which makes it illegal to give under-18s information about homosexuality, has led to calls for a boycott of next year's Winter Olympics in Russia.
Debate over the law, which was introduced in June, has intensified during the World Athletics Championships in Moscow.
But Mr Mutko, who is chairman of the Moscow 2013 Organising Committee, told a press conference today the issue has been blown out of all proportion.
"I think this is kind of an invented problem," he said. "We don't have a law banning non-traditional sexual relations, we have a different law.
"It is the informational protection of the young generation. We want to prevent the young generation, whose psyche has not been formulated.
"We want to protect them against drunkenness, drugs and non-traditional sexual relations. We want them to grow up and when they become adults they have to define what they want."
The news came as two female Russian athletes kissed on the winner's podium at the World Athletics Championships yesterday - sparking a huge debate on Twitter and other media about whether it was in protest at the government's anti-gay law.
On Friday, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva claimed she was "misunderstood" when she ap-parently spoke out in support of her country's controversial new laws on homosexuality.
Isinbayeva, 31, made her comments after other athletes made statements and gestures - including painting their nails in rainbow colours - opposing the Russian law.



"It's disrespectful to our country, disrespectful to our citizens because we are Russians," Isinbayeva told a news conference - in English - after Swedish athlete high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro criticised the law.
"Maybe we are different than European people and people from different lands."
However, a day later, Isinbayeva suggested she was misunderstood because English is not her first language.
"What I wanted to say was that people should respect the laws of other countries particularly when they are guests," she said in a statement.
"But let me make it clear I respect the views of my fellow athletes, and let me state in the strongest terms that I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people on the grounds of their sexuality (which is against the Olympic charter)."
He said allowing the Games to go ahead in Russia would be comparable to the decision to hold the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.
In Italy, a local politician has been forced to resign for saying Yelena Isinbayeva "should be taken and raped in a square" after she appeared to back Russia's anti-gay legislation.
Gianluigi Piras, who served in a small municipality in Sardinia, apologised for his Facebook comments, saying he only meant them as a "paradox".

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