'This Week' Transcript: Russian President Vladimir Putin


STEPHANOPOULOS: Leave the children in peace. That was President Putin on Friday, defending the law that is threatening to overshadow these winter games. It bans, quote, "nontraditional sexual relationships to minors." It's causing a – propaganda about that – is causing a global uproar, some boycotts and questions over how Russia will treat gay athletes and tourists last month.


STEPHANOPOULOS: When the law passed last summer, protests quickly spread. President Obama weighed in too.

OBAMA: Nobody is more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you've been seeing in Russia. And one of the things I'm really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze.

STEPHANOPOULOS (on camera): And I wonder if you can respond to that. And if gay and 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 law?

PUTIN (through translator): Acts of protest and acts of propaganda are somewhat different things. 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 sexuality 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 U.S., homosexuality remains a felony.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The Supreme Court has struck those laws down.

PUTIN (through translator): 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 U.S. 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.

STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Russia's gay activists say that the climate there is getting ugly.

MASHA GESSEN (Journalist and LGBT Activist): The propaganda laws are almost the least of it. It's a huge concerted campaign that's unleashed by the Kremlin. It's a campaign of hate, and violence. So basically, it's a law that enshrines second-class citizenship.

PUTIN (through translator): It has nothing to do with prosecuting people for their nontraditional orientation. In this country, everybody is absolutely equal to anybody else, irrespective of one's religion, sex, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Everybody is equal. So no concerns exist for people who intend to come as athletes or visitors to the Olympics.

STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): But just yesterday, this Russian protester was detained for unfurling a rainbow flag during the Olympic torch relay.

Putin had no comment about President Obama's decision not to come to Sochi, a pointed protest the president underscored by naming prominent gays and lesbians like Billie Jean King to the U.S. delegation. She spoke to our Amy Robach.

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