Russia Today — Sept 20, 2013
Vladimir Putin, traditionally sharp-tongued and prickly, spoke about Syria, gay rights, and democracy at the Valdai Club political forum. During the two hour discussion, the leader said he has “not ruled out” running for a fourth presidential term.
Putin addressed a wide range of topics at the Valdai International Discussion Club on Thursday, where over 200 leading politicians, experts, and journalists gathered for a global dialogue about Russia.
Russia’s traditionalist heart
Putin highlighted traditionalism as the center for Russia’s national identity.
“Without the values at the core of Christianity and other world religions, without moral norms that have been shaped over millennia, people will inevitably lose their human dignity,” he stated.
The president criticized “Euro-Atlantic countries” where “any traditional identity, … including sexual identity, is rejected… There is a policy equating families with many children with same-sex families, belief in God with belief in Satan,” he said.
“Any minority’s right to be different must be respected, but the right of the majority must not be questioned,” Putin added.
Commenting on the law banning gay propaganda, Putin said that Russia and Europe have demographic problems.
“Europeans are dying out. Don’t you understand that? And same-sex marriages don’t produce children. Do you want to survive by drawing migrants? But society cannot adapt so many migrants. Your choice in many countries is the way it is: recognition of same-sex marriage, adoption, etc. But let us make our own choice the way we see it for our country,” Putin said.
The president added that some American states still have criminal liability for homosexuality.
“Why does everyone like to focus on Russia? You shouldn’t fuel tensions here; there is nothing terrible here,” he said.
President Putin also joked that his old friend Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian Prime Minister would not have faced trial if he was gay.
“Berlusconi faces trial for bedding women. If he was gay, no one would ever lay a finger on him,” he said with a smile.
On vodka, caviar and Russian-European relations
Courtesy Peter Myers