16 January, 20:33

Winter Olympics in Sochi to be held without any discrimination - Putin

Winter Olympics in Sochi to be held without any discrimination - Putin

Winter Olympics in Sochi will take place in accordance with the Olympic Charter without discrimination of any kind, President of Russia Vladimir Putin has assured. More than six thousand athletes from 85 countries of the world and hundreds of thousands of fans are expected, according to the President.

"We are doing everything to ensure that this is a great sports festival not only for the citizens of our country, but for all sports fans around the world," he said at the ceremony of presenting credentials to ambassadors of foreign states in the Kremlin. The text of the speech of the head of state is published on his website.

Putin has noted that for the first time in the history of the Olympic movement participants of the Games would have an opportunity to come to Russia without visas, only on the basis of an accreditation. He has reminded that foreign representative offices of the Russian Federation "opened special "Olympic windows" in order to consider such applications as a matter of priority."

The President has expressed confidence that "the Olympics will serve the rapprochement between the peoples, will help to strengthen friendship, trust and partnership all over the world." "Russia, of course, will support its athletes; however, we wish success to all the participants of the competitions. We are always able to assess a brilliant success of any athlete from any country," he concluded.

Earlier this week, 27 Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, physics, medicine and physiology, as well as Peace Prize winners supported an open letter from chemist Harold Kroto and actor Ian McKellen to Vladimir Putin containing a demand to cancel the "anti-gay law".

The British press has stressed that this step had been taken just before the opening of the Olympics. "Putin has faced global hostility in connection with the ban on non-traditional sexual relations’ propaganda among minors and caused doubts about safety of foreign athletes with non-traditional orientation," an article in The Independent says.

However, the Russian authorities ignore such calls, and some of its representatives and supporters give an angry rebuff to them. Putin from time to time promises that participants of the Games will feel comfortable regardless of their nationality or sexual preference.

The State Duma, in its turn, has assured that the rules of the "anti-gay law" will not be applied to participants and guests of the Olympic Games. However, many remain fearful and urge to boycott the Games in Sochi.

Voice of Russia

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