On January 14, 2014, for the second year in a row, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published its report [ru] on human rights in the European Union. The initiative was most likely started as a symmetrical reply to similar (often critical) reports on human rights in Russia that the European Union has published over the years. Entitled “Report on the Human Rights Situation in the European Union”, the report was made available as a Word document on the Ministry's website, in both Russian and in an “unofficial translation” into English.
The majority of the report dealt with cases of police brutality, refusals of asylum and discrimination on racial and gender grounds. In what was most likely a barbed reply to sustained western criticism of Russia's “gay propaganda” law, the report criticised the European Union for:
Attempts […] to enforce on other countries an alien view of homosexuality and same-sex marriages as a norm of life and some kind of a natural social phenomenon that deserves support at the state level.
The Russian version of the report continued and noted:
Подобный подход встречает сопротивление не только в странах, придерживающихся традиционных ценностей, но и там, где всегда существовало либеральное отношение к людям с нетрадиционной ориентацией.
A similar approach encounters resistance not only in countries maintaining traditional values, but also in those, where there has always existed a liberal attitude to people with non-traditional orientations
The English translation of the report, however, was phrased somewhat differently.
While the translation is labelled as “unofficial”, Russia watchers were somewhat taken aback that a homophobic slur could end up on a government website. Author Oliver Bullough commented:
Why did the Russian foreign ministry translate “к людям с нетрадиционной ориентацией” as “towards queers”? Are they asking to be mocked?
— Oliver Bullough (@OliverBullough) January 15, 2014
The gaffe seems likely to overshadow the contents of the report, which contains detailed information on alleged human rights abuses in each EU member state. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet commented on the matter.