Amsterdam, April 9, Interfax - The ban on homosexual propaganda, introduced in some regions, reflects public opinion, said President Vladimir Putin.
"I would like to note that this ban is initiated in the regions, which reflects public opinion. This is in no way being provoked by the federal authorities," he said at a press conference after talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Such a sentiment cannot be disregarded, Putin said.
"If we are talking about liberalism and democracy, we must treat each other with respect, including in the international arena," he said.
The rights of sexual minorities are not curbed in Russia, he said. "These people, like all others, use all the rights and liberties," Putin said.
"As president of the Russian Federation I think that they, as Russian citizens, have no other president. So, it is my duty to defend their interests and rights," he said.
Representatives of sexual minorities, like all other Russian citizens, make careers, and get state awards and bonuses, Putin said.
"All this is part of our political practice. I'm sure this is the way it will be," Putin said.
He has called for a "civilized" deal between sexual minorities, on the one hand, and the rest of Russian society, on the other.
"It seems to me that we need a kind of consensus with that community, to reach an agreement with them on joint work, that we shouldn't wrangle with each other but should reach an agreement, understand each other and evolve certain rules of conduct, civilized rules," Putin told a news conference in Amsterdam. "I think this is possible."
Putin added that same-sex marriages fail to solve demographic problems.
"I have already said that I believe it's necessary to defend the rights of sexual minorities. But you will agree that same-sex marriages don't produce children. We are coming up against demographic problems both in Europe and in Russia," he said.
The problem can be solved through immigration, Putin said. "But I would like raising the birthrate in Russia to be the job of the so-called titular ethnic groups, such as the Russians, Tatars, Chechens, Bashkirs, Dagestanis, Jews, and so on, and so on. In other words, those who consider Russia their home," Putin said.