Russia to ban any public mention of gay relationships as MPs pass law banning all LGBTQ ‘propaganda’ in latest rights crackdown
- “Propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” has “consequences,” says house speaker
- Rights activists say the move would affect books, movies, TV and social media
- Violators risk £135,000 fine as Putin tries to promote ‘conservative’ values
Russian lawmakers on Thursday unanimously approved a bill banning all forms of LGBTQ “propaganda” as President Vladimir Putin seeks to promote his country as the antithesis of Western liberal values.
Russia already has a law banning so-called “gay propaganda” for minors, and the new law would extend it to adults and effectively ban any public mention of gay relationships.
Rights activists say the new legislation ramps up crackdowns on LGBTQ relationships in Russia, affecting everything from books and movies to social media posts and even drag shows.
In 2018, police led a protester with a rainbow-colored flag in the center of Saint Petersburg
Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured November 9, 2022) seeks to promote his country as the antithesis of Western liberal values
The legislation must be backed by the House of Lords and Putin before it becomes law, steps seen as a formality.
Amid raging tensions with the world’s top democracies as the Kremlin continues its offensive in Ukraine, Putin is promoting increasingly conservative values to unite his core voters.
“Any propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations will have consequences,” Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, told Telegram.
The legislation, he said, “will protect our children and the future of the country from the darkness spread by the US and European states.”
“We have our own traditions and values,” he added.
The bill also prohibits the “propaganda of pedophilia and gender reassignment.”
The legislation prohibits what authorities consider LGBTQ “propaganda” in advertising, books, media and movies.
Violators risk hefty fines of up to 10 million rubles (£135,000).
A man passes the building of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, in the center of Moscow on October 27, 2022
The State Duma said websites containing banned information will be blocked.
Russian film production companies and book publishers have expressed concern about the bill, saying it could lead to the banning of some Russian classics, such as Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.
“Films promoting such relations will not receive a distribution certificate,” the State Duma said.
LGBTQ rights groups have called on Russia not to pass the measure, as it will ban any public mention of sexual minorities.
Examples of censorship of LGBT-related content can already be found in Russia, where Disney has reportedly cut the content of its films to comply with the country’s laws.