From the New York Times editorial board:
As the Winter Olympic Games approach next month in Russia, it is hard to tell whether President Vladimir Putin wants to play the role of genial host or homophobic scold. In remarks Friday to workers preparing the Games, the autocratic Russian leader sought to reassure visitors to Sochi. “You can feel relaxed and calm,” he said. He then added: “But please, leave the children alone.” “We won’t arrest anyone,” Mr. Putin sought to reassure the world. But of course laws like the child propaganda statute are so irresponsible and vague that they can be left to individual judgment by the throngs of local police, soldiers and state intelligence agents charged with protecting the Games. Mr. Putin should keep in mind his own nation’s history of easy Kremlin hatefulness toward all manner of dissidents. His repeated and clumsy references to what are essentially his own prejudices, since glorified by the state, only make Sochi more political and less inviting to world visitors.