Two top German cabinet ministers have said Russia’s anti-gay laws prove President Vladimir Putin is a ‘dictator’.
Guido Westerwelle, the openly gay Foreign Minister, and Dirk Niebel, the Development Minister, have criticized the Russian president for backing laws banning propaganda against ‘non-traditional relationships’.
‘We must make clear when in contact with Russian politicians that this collapse in fundamental democratic values is not acceptable, and that Russia is moving towards becoming a flawless dictatorship,’ Niebel told broadcaster N24 yesterday (12 August).
The use of the words ‘flawless dictatorship’ is believed to be a play on comments made by former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that described Putin as a ‘flawless democrat’.
A day earlier, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told the newspaper Welt am Sonntag ‘Russia is taking another big step towards becoming a flawless dictatorship in ostracising homosexuals.’
Germany is not intending to boycott the Olympic Games.
Westerwelle, who said any attempts to denounce same-sex relationships had no attempts in a democracy, said a boycott would be counter-productive.
While Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed ‘concern’ over Russia’s anti-gay laws, a spokesman for her told Reuters Westerwelle and Niebel’s comments were ‘unhelpful’.
The German ministers speaking out against the ‘gay propaganda’ law builds on the recent international criticism.
They said if any LGBT or straight athlete fights for gay Russians during the Sochi Olympics then they could be punished. They said the Games were no place for ‘political’ statements.
It followed Russia’s Interior Ministry, which controls the police force, confirming there would be no suspension of the law during the Sochi Winter Olympics.