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Russian president Vladimir Putin said Russian people don't care that famed composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was gay. They just like his music.
"They say that Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a homosexual," he told the Associated Press a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press. "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?"
As filmmaker Yuri Arabov plans a documentary around the composer's life, he said he would not focus on Tchaikovsky's sexual orientation. He told The New York Times that "it is far from a fact that Tchaikovsky was a homosexual." While the history of Tchaikovsky's sexuality has been suppressed in Russia by the Soviets, newly discovered letters and diaries provide evidence that the composer, who died in 1893, was indeed gay.
Putin also mentioned that he often works with gay people, despite his country's ban on so-called LGBT propaganda, which he signed into law.
"I assure you that I work with these people," he said. "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."