- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 19, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin defended on Thursday the country’s strict laws against gay “propaganda,” amid international criticism and threats of a boycott.

“It’s not important for me to criticize western values,” Mr. Putin said, CNN reported. “What is important is to defend our society from … values which are received in a difficult way by our citizens.”

The vague Russian laws ban homosexual “propaganda” in the presence of minors, which could mean anything from same-sex couples holding hands to wearing a rainbow-colored T-shirt in public places.

“It’s not about criticizing anyone,” Mr. Putin continued. “It’s about protecting us from rather aggressive behavior from some social groups who, in my opinion, are trying to impose their points of view in a rather aggressive way.”

Both German President Joachim Gauck and French President Francois Hollande have announced their decision not to attend the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. No member of President Obama’s family or active Cabinet will attend either.

The United States announced this week that its delegation to the Winter Olympics will include openly gay athletes, CNN reported.

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