There are no gay people in Sochi, says the mayor of Sochi

"We do not have them in our city," says Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov

By Katie McDonough
January 28, 2014 1:49AM (UTC)
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Protesters against the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia (AP/Lefteris Pitarakis)

There are no gay people in Sochi, according to the mayor of Sochi, who knows about these things.

But even though there are no gay people in Sochi, that doesn't mean that gay people aren't welcome in Sochi, Anatoly Pakhomov clarified. Gay people are welcome in Sochi (where there are currently no gay people) as long as they "respect Russian law."


"Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian Federation and doesn't impose their habits on others," he explained.

When asked if he believed Russia's anti-gay law will lead to discrimination or violence in Sochi, Pakhomoy defended the criminalization of pro-LGBTQ speech as a "live and let live" kind of thing. Then he said the thing about no gay people in Sochi.

"No, we just say that it is your business, it's your life," he explained. "But it's not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city."


When asked if he was really, really sure about there being no gay people in Sochi, he finally conceded, "I am not sure, but I don't bloody know them."

h/t BBC News


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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2014 Sochi Olympics Gay Rights Lgbtq Rights Russia Sochi Winter Games