Ballet and Sex and the City star joins campaign against anti-gay Russian law

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Russian émigré ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov has voiced his opposition to a Russian law banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” to minors, saying “equal treatment of people is a basic right.”

In a statement on the No More Fear Foundation’s website, Baryshnikov, star of the Sex and the City series said he thought it the law was unnecessarily discriminatory.

He said: “My life has been immensely enriched by gay mentors, colleagues and friends and any discrimination and persecution of gay people is unacceptable,”

“Equal treatment of people is a basic right and it is sad that we still have to even speak about this in 21st century.”

The No More Fear Foundation describes its mission on its website as helping people of non-traditional sexual orientation who feel persecuted in their home countries resettle in the United States.

Baryshnikov, 65, was born in the then-Soviet republic of Latvia and in 1969 became principal dancer with the St Petersburg’s Kirov Ballet. He left the Soviet Union in 1974 for a career dancing with ballet companies around the world and is currently artistic director of the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York.

In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that the LGBT community faces discrimination in Russia, saying that controversial anti-gay laws do not infringe the rights of sexual minorities.

He insisted that the legislation only bans the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors,” and argued that there was “no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities.”

The Russian President signed the widely-condemned legislation into law in June. It has caused an international outcry, particularly because the 2014 Winter Olympics is set to take place in Sochi in February. This caused calls for a boycott of the Olympics, and of Russian vodkas.