Russian president Vladimir Putin has denied that gay people face discrimination in Russia, saying that it is ‘no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities.’ He said that European laws allowing gay marriage were contributing to population declines.

Putin said while some European nations have allowed gay marriages, ‘the Europeans are dying out … and gay marriages don’t produce children.’

Echoing a popular anti-immigration line, he asked: ‘Do you want to survive by accepting immigrants? Society can’t absorb such a number of immigrants. Let us make our own choice, as we see it for our country.’

But gay people in Russia clearly do not echo their president’s opinion that they are not being persecuted, as So So Gay reported two weeks ago, with them standing in front of monuments with signs thanking the world for their support.