Ambassador denied discrimination against gays in Russia

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A Russian Ambassador has claimed that LGBT people were not discriminated in Russia. The Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Maxim Peskhov, made the claims in a meeting with several gay members of the Irish Parliament. Senator Jerry Buttimer, an openly gay member of the Seanad Éireann, had set up the meeting with the Ambassador to discuss the reports about the catastrophic situation with gay men in Chechnya. However, the politician recalled afterwards that the Ambassador flat-out disagreed that LGBT people in Russia could face homophobia. Writing for The Journal, Mr Buttimer explained: “It was no surprise to us that we were hit with a metaphoric brick wall when we raised the issue. It seems the Ambassador continued with the example set by other representatives in stating, ‘there is no discrimination of gay people in Russia’. One could not but be disheartened at his lack of understanding or appreciation, or perhaps he was playing the old Russian traditionalist in just obfuscating and denying, but none the less it was incredible to watch his performance. Although I was disappointed with the Ambassador’s lack of willingness to work to promote equality, I hope this is a step in a positive direction to engage in future open dialogue regarding LGBT issues in Russia. I think it is very important to challenge people’s viewpoints and perceptions.” He added: “We must continue to promote LGBT equality here that can send a message internationally, as in 2015, that our country in many different ways is concerned with progress, international good practice and human rights. We can make a difference. We can change rights and bring in entitlements and ensure that all people can live to their full potential.”

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