Russian Female Athletes Kiss on Podium, Send Message to Government?

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Russian athletes Tatyana Firova and Kseniya Ryzhova kissed at the World Athletics Championships last weekend, possibly as a message to their government.

After winning the 4x400 relay, the runners kissed. Then the gold medalists kissed again during the award ceremony. More than just a congratulatory gesture?

Neither athlete has released a statement, but some say it was political - a subtle, yet high-profile violation of the anti-gay law passed by Russia's parliament this year.

The two women could, theoretically, be prosecuted for their public lip-lock, since it could be perceived as "propagating non-traditional sexual relations."

Was that precisely the point of the public embrace?

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko addressed the commotion over the "gay propaganda" law Sunday, blaming the media for blowing it out of proportion.

"I think this is kind of an invented problem," he told reporters. "We don't have a law banning non-traditional sexual relations, we have a different law."

Do they, though?

Russian authorities recently confirmed that athletes and spectators visiting the city will be required to abide by the country's laws, including its anti-gay legislation.

However, Mutko said visitors in Sochi will still be "granted all rights and freedoms," and threats to boycott the games are unlikely to come to fruition.

Still, don't expect you've heard the last of Russian's policy toward gays, which many consider regressive, as the quadrennial event draws nearer.

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