Russian Lawmakers Pass Bill Prohibiting LGBTQ ‘Propaganda’
On Thursday, during the final reading, all Russian lawmakers agreed to ban all kinds of “propaganda” about LGBTQ people. This is part of Moscow’s conservative campaign at home while its troops fighting in Ukraine.
The law that Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, passed bans all references to what the government calls “homosexual propaganda” in the media, movies, books, and ads.
“Paedophilia and sex change propaganda” is also against the law. Rights groups say that if the upper house of parliament passes it and President Vladimir Putin signs it into law, it will effectively make it illegal to support LGBTQ people in public in Russia.
In Moscow, there is a law that says “propaganda” about LGBTQ relationships that is aimed at kids is illegal. The proposed law would make this rule apply to adults as well.
The speaker of the Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said on social media that any propaganda about non-traditional partnerships would have consequences.
He said that the bill would “protect our children and the future of our country from the darkness that the US and European states are spreading.”
Russia has tried to make it seem like LGBTQ relationships are caused by dangerous Western influence. This is part of a toughening of its language as its conflict with the West over Ukraine gets worse.
Dilya Gafurova, who runs the LGBTQ rights group Sfera, said it was especially “worrying” that the government says LGBT+ people are something the West made up.
She warned about what could happen if “a whole group is demonized.” People who break the new rule could be fined up to 10 million rubles, which is about $165,400. Websites with illegal content will be blocked by the government.
The Duma website says that it would also make it illegal to “sell goods (including foreign goods) with illegal information.” Putin has been saying for years that he is the exact opposite of what the West stands for.
Since Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, isolating Moscow and causing an unprecedented crackdown at home, this anger has only grown.
Russian movie studios and book publishers are worried about the measure because they say it could lead to the banning of some Russian classics like “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov.
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“Films that promote these kinds of relationships will not get a certificate for distribution,” the Duma said. Senior MPs had said before that the bill was needed because Russia was attacking Ukraine.
An activist named Dilya Gafurova asked the government not to use the LGBTQ community “as a tool of ideological confrontation.” “We just are,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with us and nothing that needs to be kept quiet.” “It’s impossible to take away our voice,” she added.
Putin turned 70 this year and has spent his time as president promoting what he calls “traditional values.” In September, he spoke out against same-sex parents.
In a speech at the Kremlin in September, he asked, “Do we want ‘parent number one,’ ‘parent number two,’ or ‘parent number three’ instead of mum and ‘dad’?”
“Have they gone completely crazy?” he asked.