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The Winter Olympic Games have already shined a spotlight on Russia's tough anti-homosexual policies. But according to the mayor of the host city Sochi there's no reason for concern -- because no gays live in his city.
In an interview with the BBC, Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov claimed he is unaware of any homosexuals living in the city, "It's not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city."
Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov isn't so sure, arguing the city has several gay bars in operation, "As far as I know there are several gay clubs in Sochi ... how do they survive? Why they are not bankrupt? ”
Mayor Pakhomov says gays should feel welcome attending the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, as long as they "respect Russian law" and "don't impose their habits on others."
In June 2013, Russia passed a law banning the promotion of "non-traditional" sexuality to those under 18 - widely seen as an attack on gay rights.
The controversial new law made providing information on homosexuality to minors a crime, punishable by a fine." Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian Federation" Pakhomov said.
Last week, President Vladimir Putin said homosexuals would be welcome in Sochi for the Olympics but said, "just leave the children alone."