Russian Railways boss Vladimir Yakunin, who has said he is
flattered to be on a U.S. sanctions list introduced in response
to the Ukraine crisis, launched a broad attack on Western values
at a conference in Berlin.
He said the United States spoke about fighting for democracy but
wanted to impose its values on others. He cited sanctions
slapped on the initiator of a Russian law against homosexual
"propaganda" and Conchita Wurst's Eurovision win last weekend.
"A vulgar ethno-facism from the distant past has once again
become part of our lives," said Yakunin at the German-Russia
Forum in the German capital.
"The ancient definition of democracy had nothing to do with
bearded women but with the leadership of the people."
Even before the crisis in Ukraine erupted, Russia had drawn
criticism from the West for its ban on what it terms propaganda
about homosexuality. It says the ban is meant to protect minors.
The openly gay Austrian singer Wurst has called her success at
the Eurovision Song Contest a victory over the forces of
intolerance, including Russia's Putin.
Yakunin urged Europeans to distance themselves from the United
States and said the sanctions imposed were "pure propaganda,
purely political steps".
"Why is it that everything that comes from across the ocean is
good - even the Iraq war?" said Yakunin. "But any attempt by
Russia to make a proposal is viewed negatively."
Yakunin was targeted on a U.S. sanctions list in March in
response to Russia's moves to annex the Ukrainian region of
Crimea, which triggered the worst crisis in the West's relations
with Russia since the Cold War.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Annika Breidthardt; Writing by
Madeline Chambers; Editing by Stephen Brown and Andrew Heavens)
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