Gay activists are having none of Russian President Vladimir Putin's effort to soften his anti-homosexual views, calling him “Public Enemy No. 1” to gays, especially those heading to the Olympics in Sochi next month.
The Washington Blade, the city's gay newspaper, blasts Putin in their latest edition, calling him a “de facto dictator” who they claim is using his “anti-gay animus to distract the nation's attention from his own domestic failures.”
Putin has signed several anti-gay laws in advance of the Winter Olympics, a most unwelcome sign, say activists. Over the weekend, he sounded more welcoming to gay visitors and athletes, but then compared gays to pedophiles and said Russia must "cleanse" itself if to increase the birth rate.
Gay Americans have been focused on the anti-gay laws and have been encouraged by President Obama's effort to throw the issue in Putin's face by refusing to attend the Olympics and instead sending prominent gays to represent the nation.
The Blade said in an editorial that it is now up to NBC to press the issue in its coverage of the Olympics.
“It’s now incumbent on NBC to allow its journalists to do their jobs next month. Sunshine is the best antiseptic and NBC is in a unique position with its unfettered access to Sochi, to Russian public officials and to the athletes to expose what’s happening to gays under Putin’s dictatorship. American corporate interests and profits must not get in the way of covering the big story. The very lives of gay Russians likely depend on it,” said the paper.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.