Well aware that everyone knows his government is one of the most homophobic in the developed world and that he needs to soften his image, Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to portray himself as inclusive during an interview with the Associated Press and Russia's Kremlin-controlled Channel 1.
Asked about laws that forbid any positive portrayal or depiction of LGBT people, Putin told reporters that everything is "normal" and that he even knows and sometimes celebrates gay people. "I assure you that I work with these people*. I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their achievements in various fields," he said, without offering specifics. "We have absolutely normal relations, and I don't see anything out of the ordinary here."
Putin also addressed the controversy over his government's straightification of gay composer Tchaikovsky by saying that his music, not his private life, is more important, "They say that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a homosexual. Truth be told, we don't love him because of that, but he was a great musician, and we all love his music. So what?" Yeah, totally, so what that the government coopted an honest biopic of Tchaikovsky and turned it into a lie?
(*Well, at least he called us "people," not dogs or sinners, right?)