Dmitry Chernyshenko is really upset with all this bad press that the Sochi Olympics is getting, and even demanded that the International Olympic Committee help stop the campaign and speculation surrounding the anti-gay laws in Russia that are overshadowing the preparations for the 2014 Olympics.
While the statements are unlikely to get Olympians to avoid the Olympics, it is likely that the negative press regarding Russia’s “Don’t Say Gay” laws coupled with their new law which would abduct children from LGBT parents is likely to result in very few spectators wishing to attend the Olympics.
Chernyshenko asked the IOC’s general assembly about the possible impact of the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Russia, and urged the IOC to convey the message to “those who are still trying to speculate on this very transparent and very clear topic.”
It is, of course, entirely transparent that anyone caught so much as being openly gay in Sochi will be arrested, harassed and deported by the Russian police, and that is if they are lucky. If they are not, the thugs who have been allowed to operate in Russia without police intervention will catch them and torture them.
Chernyshenko stated that “It’s very important to have your support to stop this campaign and this speculation regarding this issue.”
The Russian law ostensibly prohibits the promotion of ‘nontraditional’ sexual relations to children, but, as many have pointed out, it has been used as a cover for the suppression and repression of not only the LGBT Community in Russia, but of artwork and other items critical of the Putin regime.
Artwork of Putin and other political figures dressed in women’s lingerie were seized and destroyed, and the excuse was that they violated this particular law.
Chernyshenko told the IOC that the law does not ban homosexuality and noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had assured people that the Russian constitution “guarantees the equality of rights and freedom for everybody. . .We are absolutely confident that there will be no conflicts in that regards. It will not stop (Sochi) 2014 from proudly upholding the Olympic values, I promise you.”
Meanwhile, IOC marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg is more concerned about the possible financial fallout noting that “I think this could ruin a lot for all of us. We have to be prepared.” Apparently a number of sponsors are afraid of the situation in Russia and are reluctant to funnel funds into the Sochi Olympics.
Heiberg was more concerned about sponsors, especially those from Western Europe and the United States. He stated that “Lately there has been a lot of discussion, especially in Western Europe and in the United States, and I’m being pushed by several of the sponsors asking what will happen with this new law in Russian in connection with the gay community. We are not to try to change anything over the laws in Russia. We will of course accept this as internal Russian decision. But what will the consequences be?”
Heiberg cited the rules in the Olympic Charter which stated that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” He went on to say that “We have to be prepared. We can see many ways this could happen. I heard a lot from the sponsors, especially the American sponsors, what they are afraid of could happen.”
Outgoing IOC President Jacques Rogge did note that the IOC will remind athletes that they should refrain from any protests or political gestures during the February Olympics; however, that is not likely to stop private citizens from protesting or speaking out.
Rogge said that athletes would soon be reminded about abiding by that rule and that “Definitely this is important in terms of informing the athletes about the responsibility of Rule 50. We are going to do this immediately after this session, the same way we have done it before the Beijing Games, to inform the athletes and the national Olympic committees of the rules of rule 50.”
The problem for Russia and the IOC is not the athletes, but rather the spectators and fans from across the globe. Russia has been unable to stem the tide of negative press occurring ahead of the Sochi Olympics which has shone a spotlight on the human rights abuses going on under the Putin regime. Unfortunately for Russia, they cannot stop people outside their boarders from discussing their problems.