The Vermont Cynic

Putin’s law sparks Sochi controversy

“In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them . . . for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.”

This is the Olympic oath taken every year by the hosting country’s athletes, according to the Olympics website.

The oath is taken on behalf of all the competing athletes from across the world.

It is a declaration that can become troubling when the rules governing the Games conflict with the “honor” of the visiting teams.

Some seven months before the opening ceremonies in Sochi, President Vladimir Putin sparked controversy by signing into law a bill that criminalized the spreading of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors.

Stripped of political jargon, it’s a bill that makes it illegal to tell children that homosexuality exists. According to the official publication of the bill, fines range from $150 to $6,250 for insinuating that homosexual and heterosexual relations are “socially equivalent.”

The Olympic games have always been a time where the international community comes together to celebrate the mutual appreciation of athletic excellence.

“For the glory of sport!”

It is this commonality that can bring us together, but it can also serve to highlight how far apart we are in other seemingly fundamental aspects of societal values.

In 2009, Vermont became the first state to legalize gay marriage according to the Washington Post.

In 2010, a survey found that 74 percent of Russian citizens reject homosexuality altogether according to Pew Research.

While the U.S. appears to be entering into a future of increased tolerance and understanding, the spotlight cast over the Sochi Winter Games showed a country peddling backward when it comes to social progress.

In addition to the attack on LGBT values, and the exploitation of migrant workers who helped build the Olympic town, the turmoil in Ukraine provided an unsettling subtext to the competition.

Protests over Russia’s questionable policies in both domestic and foreign affairs provided a bleak background for what was meant to be a celebration of a peaceful coming together of humanity.

Putin’s law sparks Sochi controversy

 “In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them . . . for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.”

This is the Olympic oath taken every year by the hosting country’s athletes, according to the Olympics website.  

The oath is taken on behalf of all the competing athletes from across the world.

It is a declaration that can become troubling when the rules governing the Games conflict with the “honor” of the visiting teams.

Some seven months before the opening ceremonies in Sochi, President Vladimir Putin sparked controversy by signing into law a bill that criminalized the spreading of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors.  

Stripped of political jargon, it’s a bill that makes it illegal to tell children that homosexuality exists.  According to the official publication of the bill, fines range from $150 to $6,250 for insinuating that homosexual and heterosexual relations are “socially equivalent.”

The Olympic games have always been a time where the international community comes together to celebrate the mutual appreciation of athletic excellence.  

“For the glory of sport!”

It is this commonality that can bring us together, but it can also serve to highlight how far apart we are in other seemingly fundamental aspects of societal values.

In 2009, Vermont became the first state to legalize gay marriage according to the Washington Post.

In 2010, a survey found that 74 percent of Russian citizens reject homosexuality altogether according to Pew Research.

While the U.S. appears to be entering into a future of increased tolerance and understanding, the spotlight cast over the Sochi Winter Games showed a country peddling backward when it comes to social progress.

In addition to the attack on LGBT values, and the exploitation of migrant workers who helped build the Olympic town, the turmoil in Ukraine provided an unsettling subtext to the competition.

Protests over Russia’s questionable policies in both domestic and foreign affairs provided a bleak background for what was meant to be a celebration of a peaceful coming together of humanity.

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Putin’s law sparks Sochi controversy