Russia: Vladimir Putin signs decree banning protests for duration of Sochi games

Russia putin getty

A decree banning demonstrations and rallies has been signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and will take place over the duration of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The decree, signed today will block all demonstrations and rallies from taking place, will take effect for two and a half months covering the games, reports the Associated Press.

Published in the government newspaper, the decree states that all “gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets” which are not part of the Winter Olympics or Paralympics will be barred in the city between 7 Jan and 21 March 2014.

The Sochi Winter Olympics is due to take place between 7 and 23 February, and the Paralympics are due to take place on 7 to 16 March.

The decree also goes further to dictate that security measures should be tightened in Sochi, including the restriction of vehicle entry.

As such decrees are quite rare, it is assumed that the ban is in place to avoid demonstrations around anti-gay law passed in June, which has caused an international outcry.

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday released a statement saying it is content with the reassurances given by Russia over an anti-gay law signed in June for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The statement came in a response to an open letter from Russian Deputy Prime MInister Dmitry Kozak, who promised that gay people would not be discriminated against but then went onto defend the gay “propaganda” law by stating that it applied to all persons so therefore couldn’t be considered “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

The IOC has guaranteed that no one shall face discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, but in the wake of Sweden’s Emma Green Tregaro’s protest against the anti-gay laws at the World Athletics Championships last week the IOC have reiterated that political protests are not permitted in sports venues.

The laws have so far sparked controversy among LGBT activists, with some calling for a boycott of the 2014 Games. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka