Putin mocks US embassy rainbow flag


MOSCOW, July 3, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on
Friday mocked a rainbow LGBT pride flag hung from the US embassy in
Moscow, suggesting it reflected on the orientation of the diplomats.

During a televised video conference, a lawmaker told Putin that the
US embassy had hung a rainbow flag on its facade for the first time to
celebrate Pride month in June.

“Who works in this building?” Putin asked the speaker, Senator
Alexei Pushkov, to be told “Americans.”

“Let them celebrate. They’ve shown a certain something about the
people who work there,” he added with a smile.

Putin on Friday signed amendments to the constitution backed by a
national vote that include a clause on marriage being between a man
and a woman, aimed at preventing legalisation of gay unions.

The president said Friday however that Russia does not discriminate
against people on the basis of sexual orientation.

He said a law banning promotion of homosexual relationships to
minors, which he signed in 2013 to a storm of international
condemnation aimed simply to prevent the “foisting” of such
relationships on children.

The law has been used as a pretext to ban gay pride events.

“Let a person grow up, become an adult and decide his own path
himself. You just shouldn’t impose anything,” Putin insisted.

He said that “those who attack us on this basis are just trying to
break down an open door.”

A conservative politician who heads the Union of Women of Russia
warned Putin that billboards were using rainbow imagery to sell

“It’s indirect but all the same it forces our children to get used
to the colours, to the flag that everyone is hanging up, even on that
embassy,” said Yekaterina Lakhova.

US Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan in a video on Twitter on June
25 said “our embassy is displaying the rainbow flag in solidarity,”
wishing Russians a “happy Pride.”

On June 27, he and ambassadors from four other countries including
Britain released a statement urging the Russian government to carry
out its obligations to protect the rights of LGBT people.

The British embassy in Moscow also flew a rainbow flag.

The flag on the US embassy, an imposing building on a major road,
became a target for homophobic protests.

Members of Sorok Sorokov, a conservative Orthodox Christian group,
videoed themselves trampling on a rainbow flag on the pavement in
front of the building.

An Orthodox Church spokesman slammed the flag as disrespectful of
Russians’ values.

Many however snapped selfies in front of the flag to signal their
support for gay rights.

“The pride flag on the US embassy has become a landmark,” wrote
entertainment website Afisha.ru.