The Russian government made a mistake when it enacted a law banning “gay propaganda” before the Olympics take place there, the country’s sports minister said.

“Perhaps the state authorities should have waited a little,” Vitaly Mutko told RBK Daily (vuia the Associated Press). ” … It was possible to calculate how much resonance it would cause in the West, especially in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics.”

The law, passed in June, bans the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and imposes fines for providing information to minors. Negative reaction to the legislation, Mutko says, resulted from suspicion of Russia.

“Russia is picking up steam in all fields, including athletics. No one in the world needs this,” Mutko said. “They liked it when we were weak. And now we are gradually taking our place.”