Russian government passes new law cracking down on LGBT movement

Gay rights activists – pictured here in St Petersburg in 2017 – have been under increasing pressure from the government in recent years (Picture: Getty)

A new law cracking down on Russia’s LGBTQ+ movement has moved a step closer to being enacted.

The Duma gave final approval to a bill that imposes sweeping new restrictions on activities deemed to promote gay rights.

Under Vladimir Putin, the government in Moscow has become increasingly ultra-conservative and says it is committed to ‘traditional values’.

The law expands a ban on what it dubs ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’ to young people, established by legislation dubbed the ‘gay propaganda’ law.

It was first adopted by the Kremlin in 2013 but has been significantly beefed up by the changes.

This year, legislators moved to ban spreading such information to people aged 18 and older.

The bill was approved in the third and final reading on Thursday, another blow to the country’s embattled LGBTQ+ community.

In 2020, the Russian government explicitly outlawed same-sex marriages by amending its constitution. 

The Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, a Putin ally who is sometimes mentioned as a possible successor, oversaw the bill’s progress (Picture: AP)

A new clause stipulated that the ‘institution of marriage is a union between a man and a woman’.

It will be sent to the upper house of parliament for approval before being signed into existence by the president. 

The new bill outlaws all advertising, media and online resources, books, films and theatre productions deemed to contain ‘propaganda’.

It has been used previously to ban depictions of same-sex romance in films.

Russian citizens can be fined under the rules and non-residents can even be ejected from the country.

Sanctions range from £1,380 to £27,500 and foreigners may be detained for up to 15 days before being expelled.

While the law imposes punishments, it stops short of turning violations into a criminal offence, a move some more extreme parliamentarians favour.

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