Obama to meet gay Russian activists while in St Petersburg for G20

President Barack Obama is reportedly to meet LGBT activists in the Russian city of St Petersburg during his trip to the city as part of a G20 Heads of Government meeting.

BuzzFeed has made the claim citing Russian LGBT activists. The US State Department has declined to comment on the story.

According to the report, the President will meet activists including Lev Ponomarev, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Pavel Chikov, and Coming Out, a St Petersburg-based LGBT organisation. During Mr Obama’s last visit to Russia, he met with civil society and opposition activists.

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.

Last month, Mr Obama said: “If Russia doesn’t have gay or lesbian athletes, it’ll probably make their team weaker.”

The president added though: “I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics.”

Earlier in the month, in an interview with Jay Leno on NBC’s Tonight Show, President Obama was asked about the implementation of homophobic censorship laws in Russia.

The president replied saying he has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays and lesbians and transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”

Russia has said it will enforce the legislation when it hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“Do you think it will affect the Olympics?” Leno asked President Obama.

He replied: “Every judgement should be made on the track, or in the swimming pool, or on the balance beam, and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it.”

He added: “I think they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently.”

Out4Russia, launched last week and allows users to lobby G20 governments into action against the Russian law.