Full 'This Week' Interview Transcript: Russian President Vladimir Putin

PUTIN: You know, I couldn't care less about their sexual orientation. We will welcome all athletes and all visitors to the Olympics. I was once asked by President Obama to help organize a visit here by a large US delegation, and his request was due to the fact that there was a certain limitation on the number of participants as far as relevant international, national unified teams, meaning athletes and representatives of various administrative agencies. We did it. We gave as much help as we could. You see there are also IOC rules but we did find ways of solving that problem. What I mean is that, traditionally, there are more US representatives at Olympic Games than those from other nations. They have a very large team and have very many representatives. We met them halfway and we did it. Of course I'll be glad to see representatives of any nation, including the US. There are no doubts there. That is, if they wish to do so, to talk about something, be my guest. I can't see a problem here.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama has said he is personally offended by the gay propaganda law, neither he nor his family are coming to Sochi, and he said recently that if Russia doesn't have gay or lesbian athletes, it probably means their team is weaker. And I wonder if you could respond to that and if gay or lesbian athletes engage in some sort of protest, wear a rainbow pin or some other kind of protest, will they be free from prosecution under the propaganda laws?

PUTIN: Acts of protest and acts of propaganda are somewhat different things.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So if they wear a rainbow pin or kiss their partner.

PUTIN: They are close but if we were to look at them from the legal perspective, then protesting a law does not amount to propaganda of homosexuality or sexual abuse of children. That's one. Two is that I'd like to ask our colleagues, my colleagues and friends that, as they try to criticize us they would do well to set their own house in order first. I did say, after all, and this is public knowledge that in some of the states in the US homosexuality remains a crime.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But the Supreme Court has struck those laws down. PUTIN: How are they in a position to criticize us for what is a much softer, liberal approach to these issues than in their own country? I know that this isn't something that can be easily done. This is so because there are a lot of folks in the US who share the view that the legislation in their state or in their nation is appropriate, well-grounded and is in sync with the sentiment of the vast majority of the population. This needs to be discussed together at some, some more acceptable forum. Shared approaches need to be devised. We hear you. My response to you is none of our guests will have any problems. We remember certain dark-skinned citizens of the US, during Olympics, major international competitions, protest against segregation. I saw it with my own eyes on TV screens. Well, this is a practice that people use to make a statement about their rights.

SERGEI BRILEV: Please allow me to revisit sports proper.

PUTIN: Please.

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