Amid Putin's crackdown, Sochi gay scene thrives

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Posted: Sunday, September 29, 2013 12:00 am

SOCHI, Russia (AP) - A man named Ravil catapults onto the dance floor and starts stomping out the lezginka, the arrogant rooster strut of the Chechen national dance.

Ravil's spontaneous performance is made even more unusual by the fact he's in one of the two gay clubs in Sochi, the southern Russian town that will host the Winter Olympics amid Vladimir Putin's harsh crackdown on gays. The morality campaign - centered on a law banning homosexual "propaganda" - has threatened to overshadow the games as it provokes an international outcry.

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