According to Anatoly Pakhomov, the mayor of 2014 Winter Olympics host-city Sochi, there are no gay people in his city.
In an interview with the BBC Pakhomov was asked how gay visitors would be treated in Sochi. He replied, “Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian Federation and doesn’t impose their habits on others.”
But when asked whether gay people had to hide their sexuality in Sochi, the Mayor said: “No, we just say that it is your business, it’s your life. But it’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city.”
When asked to confirm that statement (regarding having no gay people in Sochi), Pakhomov said “I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them.”
At another point in the story, filed by BBC Panorama reporter John Sweeney, Sweeney recounts going to a gay bar in Sochi and being told by people in the bar that there are, in fact, two gay bars in Sochi. .
Opposition party leader Boris Nemtsov later confirmed this claim while, at the same time, seemingly rebutting Pakhomov’s claim.
“As far as I know there are several gay clubs in Sochi,” he said. “How do they survive? Why they are not bankrupt?”
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