Russian sports minister says anti-gay law should have waited until after Olympics

The Olympic torch is lit in Greece on its way to Russia - Pool

Vitaly Mutko, the minister of sports in Russia, says his country should have waited until after the Olympics to pass anti-gay legislation because of the reaction from the West.

"Perhaps the state authorities should have waited a little," Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko was quoted as saying by the RBK business newspaper on Monday. "It was possible to calculate how much resonance it would cause in the West, especially in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics."

Mutko added that foreign criticism of the law is because of resentment of Russia's strength, though that makes no sense. His response to the laws' timing is cynical but sadly accurate. Had the Russian legislature waited until after the Sochi Games to pass the anti-gay laws, the response would have been much more muted. There would not have been such an intense focus on the country without such a major sporting event taking place.

I never thought athletes faced any danger of being arrested if they showed public support for gay rights, because of the visibility such a move would have caused at the Olympics. But once the Games end, the spotlight on the laws will dim and that's when the real danger to LGBT people and their supporters in Russia will occur.

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