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Russia proposes doubling ‘LGBTQ propaganda’ fine in new law

The fine can be up to 5 million roubles if the offence took place online or in the media.

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Pexels.

Russia is considering doubling the current fine for exposing minors to supposed “LGBT propaganda” and making acts seen to be promoting homosexuality an administrative offence.

These details emerge from new proposed legislation shared on Wednesday (31 August), Reuters has reported. 

Russia’s existing 2013 ‘gay propaganda’ law (officially the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values act) prohibits children from accessing material that is believed to “promote homosexual relationships” and has previously been used to detain LGBTQ+ activists. 

Frighteningly, if this new proposal is passed, the scope of targeting LGBTQ+ folks in Russia will be undeniably widened. 

In July, lawmakers proposed an extension to ‘gay propaganda’ law to apply to adults meaning any event, act, or material understood to be promoting homosexuality would be banned and fined. 

Under this week’s new proposed legislation, the penalty for letting children understand and see LGBTQ+ content would be doubled to 2 million roubles for entities, with the fine increasing to up to 5 million roubles if the offence took place online or in the media.

Additionally, Non-Russian citizens could face deportation if they spread “LGBT propaganda.”

Lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein said that the law is set to be debated later this year. 

“Currently, liability only applies to LGBT propaganda among children,” Khinshtein noted. “My colleagues on the committee and I would like to extend it to any propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations, regardless of age.”

Russian authorities are reportedly arguing that LGBTQ+ rights are part of the un-Russian liberal values promoted by the West.

The implications of these proposed laws can be seen all around: on Thursday (25 August), a Moscow court threatened TikTok with a four million rubles (about 64,700 euros) fine for the video sharing app’s promotion of “anti-traditional values” such as feminism and LGTBQ rights.

The Federal Service for Communications and Media Supervision has filed a complaint against TikTok for “propaganda of non-traditional values”, as well as for “distorting traditional sexual values”.

A closeted gay man living in Moscow, Russia recently told Attitude: “As an LGBTQ+ person, I’m afraid, but I’m used to living with various risks.”

“I’m secretive about my sexuality at work, and apply a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy to all personal matters.”

Neither same-sex marriages nor civil unions of same-sex couples are allowed in Russia; as of 2020, the approval Constitutional amendment led to the banning of same-sex marriage.

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.