Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov has claimed there are no gay people living in his city in the lead up to the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Pakhomov made the claim despite the fact that there are two gay bars in his city of 350,000 people – but said that gay people would be welcome so long as they ‘respect Russian law’ and ‘don’t impose their habits on others’ in an interview with the BBC.
‘Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian Federation and doesn’t impose their habits on others,’ Pakhomov told BBC reporter John Sweeney.
‘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 challenged about the presence of gay people in the city, Pakhomov replied, ‘I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them!’
Anatoly Pakhomov is a member of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.
Putin signed his country’s ban on so-called propaganda of non-traditional relationships in June of last year but Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has claimed that controversy over the law is a foreign invention.