Russia has come under fire for the ramping up of its anti-gay policies ahead of the 2014 Olympics, but president Vladimir Putin does not appear to be backing down. In fact, Putin strengthened the country’s totalitarian politics with the Olympics in mind on Friday.
Putin signed a decree banning most all forms of protest in Sochi for a period beginning before and ending after the Olypics, according to The Associated Press. The ban will be in place for two and a half months and outlaws any “gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets” that are not sanctioned by the government.
The move is widely viewed as an attempt to head off any criticism of the country’s ban on gay “propaganda.” Russia has said that it will continue to enforce its laws during the Olympics, potentially treating any pro-gay demonstrations or displays of affection as criminal behavior.
On Thursday, the International Olympic Committee received a letter from Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak, insisting that the country will comply with the Olympic Charter’s provision against discrimination. However, the IOC has declined to take a public position on Russia’s propaganda law.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Vladimir Putin