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Vladimir Putin has weighed in on the sexuality of composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, which is only in dispute because Russia has become increasingly homophobic, unwilling to admit that some of its greatest cultural icons were indisputably gay.

“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?” Putin told the Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview that touched upon the likes of Syria, the fate of Edward Snowden, and the country’s anti-gay laws. “I assure you that I work with these people. I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their achievements in various fields. We have absolutely normal relations, and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here,” he added.


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