Russia gay law creator calls Stephen Fry evil

Russia gay law creator calls Stephen Fry evil

SAINT PETERSBURG - Vitaly Milonov believes that British actor Stephen Fry is a "bringer of evil", thinks homosexuality is a perversion and thanks God for giving Russia Vladimir Putin to defend its values.

Milonov, a lawmaker in the local parliament of Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg, has become a hate figure for gay rights activists and not just for his inflammatory rhetoric.

He has also had a concrete effect on modern Russian society by introducing a hugely controversial law into the local parliament outlawing "gay propaganda".

Once passed by the former imperial capital, the law was picked up by deputies in the federal lower house of parliament the State Duma and passed nationwide and was signed into law by President Putin in June.

But activists say the law can be used for a broad crackdown against gays in Russia and the controversy has created a huge headache for the Kremlin which has faced calls for a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

But Milonov remains defiant in the face of the furore and makes no secret of his views about Fry who has called for Russia to be stripped of its right to host the Games and led an increasingly visible Internet campaign.

"For me Stephen Fry is a bringer of evil, as he expresses ideas which are evil," Milonov told AFP in an interview in Saint Petersburg.

Milonov and Fry became arch enemies after the two men held a face-to-face meeting in Saint Petersburg in March and have traded insults through the media ever since.

Fry is an implacable critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who he once memorably said looked like the Dobby the House Elf from the Harry Potter books.

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