Ilya Kovalchuk agrees with Russia’s anti-gay laws as Sochi Olympics approach

Photo: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2014 Sochi Games approaching quickly, the events on the ice and in the snow have been relegated to the back pages, so to speak. With all eyes turning to the Russian city, all discussion has been turned to the anti-gay propaganda laws Russia has and steadfastly refuses to change.

Of course, it is their country, so passing laws is their prerogative. However, the nation is not a democracy, no matter what it will tell you. Most athletes queried regarding the laws have been adamantly opposed to the laws themselves, as well as the right of the Russian government to pass them in the first place.

However, former New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk is totally alright with the laws. Rather, at the very least, he’s totally okay with toeing the party line.

“I agree, of course,” Kovalchuk said to TSN, via Sports Illustrated. “I’m Russian and we all have to respect that. It’s personal and, like I said, it’s a free world, but that’s our line. That’s our country, so everybody has to respect that.”

Kovalchuk proved how much he loves his country following the conclusion of the 2013 NHL season. After being signed to a $100 million contract by the Devils, he chose to retire in order to lace them up for Russia’s KHL next year.

Team Canada captain, Sidney Crosby, was not too happy about the laws, however.

“I think that everyone has an equal right to play and I think we’ve been supportive of that,” he said. “With the Olympics and the controversy around that, I think those decisions and those laws aren’t necessarily something that I agree with personally . . . their laws and their views.”

Like Kovalchuk said himself, it’s a free world – just not a free Russia at the moment.