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8 Jun, 2022 15:54

New law targeting 'LGBT propaganda' introduced in Russia

Proposed fines for promoting non-traditional sexual relations could exceed $160,000
New law targeting 'LGBT propaganda' introduced in Russia

Russian lawmakers are considering a new law targeting "LGBT propaganda." It would provide for fines of up to $160,000 for promoting non-traditional sexual relations. The draft legislation was submitted to Russia’s State Duma on Tuesday and is currently being reviewed by the state-building and legislation committee.

It proposes to amend an existing administrative law, which restricts information promoting, what are regarded as, non-traditional sexual relations among minors. The new law would pronounce parts of the old legislation obsolete and impose administrative responsibility for LGBT messaging in general.

An explanatory note attached to the document notes that “family, motherhood and childhood in their traditional understanding, which comes from our ancestors, are the values that ensure the continuous change of generations, act as a condition for the preservation and development of a multinational people, and therefore need special state protections.”

The bill would introduce fines for propaganda aimed at “forming non-traditional sexual attitudes, the attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relations, a distorted idea of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations, and the imposition of information about non-traditional sexual relations, causing interest in such relations.”

As long as those actions do not constitute a criminal offense, it is proposed to introduce fines for members of the public of between 40,000 and 50,000 rubles ($660-$830), and penalties of between 100,000 and 500,000 ($1,660-$8,300) for officials. Legal entities could face fines of between one million and five million rubles ($16,600-$83,000) or a suspension of activities for up to 90 days.

The punishments would be more severe if the suspected violations were carried out with the use of mass media or the internet, in which case the fines would range from 100,000 and 500,000 rubles ($1,660- $8,300) for ordinary citizens, 500,000 to one million rubles ($8,300-$16,600) for officials, and up to 10 million ($166,000) for legal entities.

Foreign citizens are also mentioned in the bill, as they could also face fines of between 40,000 and 100,000 rubles ($660-$1,660) or from 100,000 to 500,000 ($1,660- $8,300) if they use the internet for the promotion of such relationships. Alternatively, foreign citizens or people without citizenship could face a 15-day administrative arrest followed by expulsion from the Russian Federation.

The bill’s authors note that, while one of the key principles of a democratic state is the reasonable protection of the rights of minorities, “at the same time, the threats arising from the imposition of foreign standards that break the generally accepted way of life in the field of family and marriage begs the question about a need to protect the culture of the majority, including by introducing additional legal regulation.”

It is also noted that the draft legislation does not prohibit or condemn non-traditional sexual values or public discussions on the topic in a “neutral context,” and does not intend to infringe on personal freedoms and people’s rights to determine their sexual orientation and express themselves in a legal manner.