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22 Mar, 2024 12:34

‘LGBT movement’ added to Russia’s terrorist list

Banks are now obliged to freeze funds and suspend services to persons and groups associated with the grouping, which critics say is hard to define
‘LGBT movement’ added to Russia’s terrorist list

Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) has expanded its designation of persons and organizations deemed to be involved in extremist activities or terrorism to include “the international LGBT social movement and its structural units.” The updated list can be found on the agency’s website.

The move follows a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court last November that upheld the Ministry of Justice’s recognition of the “international LGBT movement” as extremist. Judges also recognized its structural divisions as fitting the same description and banned them; a move that representatives of the gay community said they feared would lead to a clampdown. 

Earlier this week, a court ordered the arrest of an administrator and the art director of a gay bar in the city of Orenburg, after they were charged with violating a ban on LGBTQ ‘propaganda. 

According to the law, banks are required to freeze the funds of persons included on the list and suspend services to them. However, critics have argued that there is no specific international LGBT moment and that for that reason the wording is difficult to interpret. 

Rosfinmonitoring's list includes more than 14,000 people and entities designated as extremists and terrorists. They range from Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban to Ukraine's Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and the movement of late Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

According to Interfax sources, the law “does not affect the right of citizens to privacy and will not entail any negative legal consequences.” The restrictions are related to the need to comply with the ban on LGBT propaganda, advertising, generating interest, and involvement in the LGBT movement, the outlet said. 

In 2022, Russia expanded an existing ban on ‘LGBT propaganda’ to minors by outlawing it altogether. State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said at the time that the prohibition would shield “our children and the future of the country from the darkness spread by the US and European states.” 

President Vladimir Putin clarified last month that the authorities do not have issues with what members of the community do in their personal lives, as long as they “don’t flaunt it” in public and do not involve children. He has previously spoken out against the promotion of “non traditional sexual relations” as part of a drive to promote “family values” which began during his third presidential term in the early 2010s. 

Many observers in Russia have linked the rise of the LGBT movement to the fall in birth rates which has accelerated across Europe over the past decade. 

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