Although homosexuality is not itself criminalized, Russia is among the most hostile countries towards the LGBTI community. Especially thanks to legislation banning so-called LGBTI “propaganda” in the country, which President Vladimir Putin amplified in December.
Since 1993 homosexuality has been legal in Russia. However, the Kremlin has found in the “anti-LGBTI propaganda” law (as it is popularly known) a tacit way of prohibiting any type of public expression of sexual diversity, as well as the LGBTI movement in the country.
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This law entered into force in 2013 and, according to various NGOs, it is written so vaguely that it is used as a political instrument and a violation of human rights. According to it, anyone who “promotes” “non-traditional” relationships can be fined.
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES THAT PUTIN HAS MADE TO THE ANTI-LGBTI LAW?
The 2013 law prohibited the dissemination of information related to the LGBTQ community to minors. However, the extension now also extends the measure to adults, and includes the fact of “praise” the “non-traditional” relationships or say that they are “normal”.
On the other hand, information on gender change cannot be given either. In addition, the law includes and associates pedophilia, which is a paraphilia and is not part of the accepted spectrum of sexual diversity, with the LGBTI collective, which results in misinformation.
The law includes the Internet, mass communication media, books, audiovisual services, cinema and advertising. As mentioned above, this legislation is also used for political purposes, and is one of the tools that Putin keeps in his “culture war” with the West.
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Punishments include fines of up to 400,000 rubles (US$6,370) for “LGBT propaganda” and up to 200,000 rubles (US$3,185) for “LGBT demonstrations and information that encourages gender change among adolescents.” For legal persons, the fines go up to 4 and 5 million rubles tukif (between 64 thousand and 80 thousand US dollars).
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE LGBTI COMMUNITY WORSENS
In 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the 2013 anti-LGBTQ law was discriminatory, promoted homophobia, and was in clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Likewise, various NGOs such as Amnesty International and ILGA Europe have launched various reports against it. In fact, the latter body has ranked Russia 46th out of 49 European nations when it comes to inclusion of the LGBTQ community.
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Among the facts denounced by ILGA-Europe are crimes motivated by discrimination and hate. In their 2020 report, they indicated that most of them were registered in Saint Petersburg, Dagestan and Chechnya, and that they have been increasing continuously since 2013.
Many victims are assaulted during “fake dates“, such as the case of a trans woman who was attacked in February 2020, according to the agency. Despite this, the same report ensures that small advances in judicial matters, such as several convictions of perpetrators, have taken place.