Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday signed into law a harsher version of his country’s anti-gay propaganda law.
Russia passed its original law, banning the promotion of “non-traditional” family relationships to minors in 2013. In effect, it clamped down on any LGBTQ representation in places where it might be seen by children.
The new law prohibits any public expression of LGBTQ behavior to all ages. This includes books, movies, magazines or online. It also bans any information regarding gender reassignment or pedophilia (yes, child abuse and LGBTQ are all grouped together in the legislation).
The law was passed unanimously last month by Russia’s Lower House of the Parliament, the State Duma (397-0). It was passed unanimously by its upper house last week.
Individuals found guilty of spreading “LGBT propaganda” face a fine of up to 400,000 rubles ($6,600). This rises to 5 million rubles ($82,100) for organizations. Foreigners can be arrested for up to 15 days or deported.
The European Court of Human Rights denounced Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law in 2017. It called the legislation discriminatory and said it violated the European Convention on Human Rights.
Russia has become a pariah state amongst many countries since it launched its invasion of Ukraine in the spring. Since launching the military action Putin has cracked down on any voices of dissent within his own country, including the media.
Tens of thousands of Ukraine troops and civilians have died. However, observers estimate around 100,000 Russia troops have also been killed or injured. They believe Russia is no closer to achieving its goals when it launched the invasion.
This latest move is another example of Putin targeting minority groups or anyone that might be seen as typifying “western” values.
One of the lawmakers who voted to pass the bill last week suggested LGBTQ people are sinful.
“The louder they squeal in the West, the more we will be sure that we are on the right track. This topic should become a sin in Russia like it is in many of our religions,” said Senator Taimuraz Dzambekovich, reports CNN.