The State Duma, Russia’s parliament, passed a law on Thursday banning so-called “LGBT+ propaganda,” or the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations in the media, on the Internet, in advertisements, books and movies.
It concerns amendments and tightening legislation from 2013 that banned “LGBT + propaganda” among minors. The entanglement and broad interpretation allowed by the vague concept of “promote” have critics fearing that sexual minorities in Russia will be further screwed over. The LGBTQ+ communities are already heavily discriminated against.
“The promotion of non-traditional sexual relations is prohibited (…) A ban on the promotion of paedophilia and gender reassignment is also included,” Duma Chairman Viacheslav Volodine said in a statement. The fines for those who flout the legislation can amount to approximately 160,000 euros.
Before the law comes into effect, the text must still be approved by the upper house of the Russian parliament and the Federation Council and submitted to President Vladimir Putin for signature, two steps that are seen as formalities.
The Kremlin is increasingly positioning itself as a defender of “traditional” values in the face of the West being presented as decadent. Against the background of the war in Ukraine, the law has also been described as a means of “defending” Russia against an attack by Western countries on values.
The law will “protect our children and the future of this country from the darkness spread by the United States and the European countries,” Volodine said. “We have our own traditions and values.”
People from the film sector and literature fear that the law will apply even stricter censorship than is already the case. So, for example, the cult novel “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov could be banned.