Vladimir Putin slams ‘monstrous’ West for teaching children they can change their gender, saying it is ‘close to a crime against humanity’
- The Russian leader launched an attack on LGBT attitudes in the West
- He said children are pushed to believe they have a choice in their gender
- Putin has faced fierce criticism for banning ‘gay propaganda’ in Russia
Vladimir Putin has claimed it is ‘monstrous’ that Western children are taught that they can change their gender.
The Russian President, speaking in Sochi, said it is ‘close to a crime against humanity’ for young boys and girls to learn about becoming transgender.
The Kremlin leader said: ‘It is terrible when children in the West are taught the idea that a boy can become a girl,’ claiming it risks ruining the lives of a generation of children.
Putin has regularly faced criticism for his crackdown on the LGBT community in Russia, where same-sex marriage and ‘gay propaganda’ is banned.
It comes after same-sex marriages in Russia were officially prohibited when changes made to the Russian constitution in July 2020 came into effect earlier this year.
Russia’s constitution now says that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman, and also prevents trans people from adopting children.
Vladimir Putin has claimed it is ‘monstrous’ that Western children are taught that they can change their gender
The Russian President, speaking in Sochi, said it is ‘close to a crime against humanity’ for young boys and girls to learn about becoming transgender
He said: ‘(It is a) simply monstrous moment when children are pushed to believe from early on that a boy can easily become a girl, and vice versa.
‘They are pushed to believe they have a choice, imposed while parents are swept aside.
‘And a child is forced to make a decision that can break their life.’
He complained that ‘no-one even consults child psychologists on whether a child of a certain age is able to make these kind of decisions.
‘Calling a spade a spade, this is close to a crime against humanity dressed up in the name and under the flag of progress.’
He was speaking to the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia, and his remarks appeared to be pre-prepared rather than off the cuff.
In June last year, Putin said Russian authorities had a ‘relaxed and unprejudiced’ attitude towards LGBT people, but decisions about gender identity could only be made by adults and therefore minors need to be ‘left alone’.
It’s the latest negative development for the LGBT community in Russia, a country in which homosexuality was a criminal offence until 1993, and classed as a mental illness until 1999.
Under Russian law, only heterosexual couples can adopt children in Russia.
Homophobia is rife in the nation and many choose to hide their sexuality to avoid persecution and violence.
Russia received widespread criticism from across the world when it passed a law in 2013 forbidding ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships’, one year after it banned gay pride demonstrations.
Putin has said he is not prejudiced against gay people, but that he finds a Western willingness to embrace homosexuality and gender fluidity out of step with traditional Russian values.
He has said it is his ‘duty’ to stop gay people from getting married in an attempt to ‘reinforce families’, after declaring in early 2020 that Russia would not legalise gay marriage as long as he was in the Kremlin.
He said he would not let the traditional notion of a mother and father be subverted by what he called ‘parent number 1’ and ‘parent number 2’.
On 13 July, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the lack of any opportunity to have same-sex relationships formally acknowledged in Russia constitutes a violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, but Russia has not retracted its ban on gay marriage.
Last year, the Russian parliament were debating a bill that would have removed any legal recognition of trans people, but ultimately withdrew the proposal after widespread backlash.
Western governments and human rights activists have criticised the Russian authorities for their treatment of LGBT people. Pictured: Officers block participants of a rally by members of the LGBT community last year
Putin’s comments this week came as he announced a nationwide paid week off work at the end of the month to curb fast rising Covid infections.
Russia, the European country hardest hit by the pandemic, has seen Covid-19 deaths soar and vaccination rates stall in recent weeks.
Russia reported 1,036 Covid-19 deaths in a single day on Thursday, but officials have warned the worst is yet to come, with only 35 percent of Russians fully vaccinated.
Putin will have no in-person meetings during the non-working period, the Kremlin said.
‘There will be no face-to-face events taking into account the difficult epidemiological situation,’ his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state news agency RIA Novosti.
Authorities have previously gone to great lengths to protect the 69-year-old, who the Kremlin says is fully vaccinated.
Russia reported 1,036 Covid-19 deaths in a single day on Thursday, but officials have warned the worst is yet to come, with only 35 percent of Russians fully vaccinated
The capital’s lockdown was announced a day after President Vladimir Putin ordered a nationwide paid week off at the end of the month to curb fast spreading infections
In Russia’s capital and the epicentre of its outbreak, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said all non-essential retail, sporting and entertainment venues must temporarily close. Shops selling food, medicine and other essentials will remain open.
Restaurants and cafes will be able to sell take-away food, the mayor said in a statement.
Mass events will be banned and schools will be closed, with the days off coinciding with national school holidays.
Theatres and museums can stay open, but entry will be allowed only with QR codes.
The mayor said the measures were necessary because the ‘situation in Moscow is continuing to develop according to the worst-case scenario’.
When restrictions end on November 8, Moscow will also halt free public transport passes for unvaccinated passengers over 60 or with chronic disease.
Sobyanin said the move was aimed at ‘protecting the lives and health of the most vulnerable Muscovites’.
Officials this week said the virus is spreading faster than ever, with Russia registering 36,339 new cases on Thursday.
Deputy mayor Anastasia Rakova said hospitalisations had risen three-fold within a month, linking it to the infectious Delta variant.
She said taking people off work was ‘one of the most effective epidemiological measures for large cities’.
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin (pictured) said the measures were necessary because the ‘situation in Moscow is continuing to develop according to the worst-case scenario’
When restrictions end on November 8, Moscow will also halt free public transport passes for unvaccinated passengers over 60 or with chronic disease (pictured, Moscow underground)
Outside Moscow, Russia’s regions were also overwhelmed.
In the southwestern city of Voronezh, one of the worst-affected areas, authorities said cemetery employees were ‘working to the limit’ amid a steep influx of deaths.
Putin on Wednesday linked Russia’s high death rates to what he called an ‘unfortunately’ low vaccination rate and urged Russians to show ‘responsibility’ and get the jab.
On a visit to the Kaliningrad exclave Thursday, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin urged locals to respond to the president’s call.
‘You heard what the president said about this. It is very important,’ Mishustin said, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
Despite multiple pleas from Putin and the homegrown Sputnik V vaccine being widely available since December, many Russians are reluctant get themselves jabbed.
Putin’s own spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that he had not been inoculated, pointing to ‘a high level of antibodies’.
Although it is being used in dozens of countries, Sputnik V is not approved by the EU or by the World Health Organisation.
Despite multiple pleas from Putin and the homegrown Sputnik V vaccine being widely available since December, many Russians are reluctant get themselves jabbed
Although it is being used in dozens of countries, Sputnik V is not approved by the EU or by the World Health Organisation
Asked if it was true that there was no possibility that Sputnik could be cleared this year, Fergus Sweeney, head of clinical studies and manufacturing task force at the European Medicines Agency, said he could not comment on the timeline.
‘Regarding the evaluation of the Sputnik vaccine, that remains under rolling review, we’re continuing the assessment and interactions with the company,’ he told reporters.
The fatalities on Thursday brought Russia’s official death toll from the disease to 227,389.
But figures published by statistics agency Rosstat in October paint a far darker picture, suggesting that more than 400,000 people have died in the country from the coronavirus.
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