Fans kissing outside Luzhniki Stadium ahead of the first match of the World Cup. Photograph: Denis Tyrin/TASS
Comments come after another MP warned Russian women against sex with fans, especially those ‘of a different race’
A Russian MP has encouraged Russians to have sex with visiting foreign football fans, a day after Russian authorities were embarrassed when one of his fellow parliamentarians warned against World Cup sexual liaisons.
“The more love stories we have connected to the World Cup, the more people from different countries fall in love, the more children are born, the better,” MP Mikhail Degtyaryov said on Thursday, Tass reported.
“Many years from now these children will remember that their parents’ love story began during the World Cup in Russia in 2018.”
His comments come after MP Tamara Pletnyova, head of the Russian parliament’s committee for families, women and children, said on Wednesday that Russians should avoid sexual relations with foreigners, particularly if they were “of a different race”.
“We must give birth to our own children. These [mixed-race] kids suffer and have suffered since Soviet times,” Pletnyova told Govorit Moskva radio station.
She was responding to a question about children born after relationships between Russian women and men from Africa, Latin America or Asia formed during the Moscow Olympics in 1980.
Piara Powar, the head of Fare, an anti-discrimination and social inclusion network, said Pletnyova’s comments were an example of an “arrogant clumsiness” among Russian officials on matters of race and discrimination. Powar said the World Cup could be an opportunity for Russia to become more open to the world.
The Russian Football Union’s anti-racism inspector, Alexei Smertin, refused to comment on Pletnyova’s comments, simply saying “No, no, no” and walking away when asked.
Smertin, a former player for Chelsea and the Russian national side, was present at the opening of Diversity House, an initiative by Fare to promote diversity in football.
“Fans who come here once come back again because they know there is no trouble,” said Smertin.
Thousands of fans from across the globe have already arrived in Moscow, chanting and singing in national colours in the city’s central squares ahead of the opening ceremony and first game between Russia and Saudi Arabia. So far the atmosphere has been positive, with no violent incidents reported.
Earlier on Thursday, the British rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was detained by police after launching a one-man protest outside Red Square. Tatchell, who was beaten up at a gay pride event in Moscow in 2007, held a placard saying “Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people.”
He was approached by police, who escorted him to a nearby police car and said he was being taken to the nearest police station.
“I’m here to protest against the persecution of LGBT people in Russia and also to protest against Fifa for awarding the World Cup to rights abusing countries like Russia and Qatar,” said Tatchell.
• The Guardian, London