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‘Calm down,’ Russian sports minister tells world

Head of International Association of Athletics Federations agrees

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The international community should just relax about Russia’s anti-gay laws, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said in a press conference Aug 8.

In recent days, Russia has fielded calls to move the Sochi Olympics to Canada amid comparisons of its new law to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg laws.

"I want to ask you to calm down, as in addition to this law we have a constitution that guarantees all citizens a private life," Mutko said. "It is not intended to deprive people of any religion, race or sexual orientation but to ban the promotion of non-traditional relations among the young generation.”

Lamine Diack, the Senegalese president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, supported Mutko.

"I don't feel there is a problem whatsoever," Diack said. "There is a law that exists; it has to be respected. We are here for the world championships and have no problem whatsoever, and I'm not worried at all."

Diack, who is 80 years old, points to Senegal’s record of refusing to boycott the Montreal and Moscow Olympics in 1976 and 1980.

“The Olympics should be a time for a truce,” he said. "Russia has its laws, and we come here for athletics, and each can do what he wants in his private life."