Russian bid to extend vile LGBTQ+ propaganda ban to adults inches forward

A protest sign featuring a photo of Vladimir Putin in drag and a rainbow

Russia is inching closer to extending its so-called ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda’ law, and is considering enforcing even harsher punishments.

Russia’s LGBTQ+ propaganda law was signed by Vladimir Putin in 2013, to protect children from being exposed to “homonormativity”. It has been criticised around the world for harming and endangering queer youth.

On Wednesday (31 August), proposed legislation was made public which would vastly increase the fine for violating the law, according to Reuters.

Under the proposal, entities that violate the ban on promoting “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors would have to pay two million rubles (£29,000), double the current fine.

If the violation were to take place online or in the media, this fine would jump to five million rubles (£72,000), while individuals would be charged 400,000 rubles (£6,000).

Anyone from abroad who violates the law would face deportation.

Announcing the proposed legislation, which is set to be debated later this year, chairman of Russia’s State Duma committee on information and communications Alexander Khinshtein also reiterated plans to extend the propaganda ban to cover adults as well as minors.

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

On the possibility of extending the propaganda ban to adults, Aleksandr Voronov, CEO of LGBTQ+ group Coming Out, previously told PinkNews: “If these amendments are adopted, the life of LGBT+ people in Russia will also become even more difficult, because there will be less representation in the media and social networks.

“This is an additional repressive lever for an already anti-humane system.”

Even in its current form, the Russian law is open to interpretation as it does not actually define LGBTQ+ propaganda. As such, it has been used to target activists, Pride parades, HIV health services and even children’s book publishers.