Russia wants to ban “the international LGBT movement” for “extremism”
“The Monster” LGBT+
The hearing, the first in this case, lasted only a few hours, and took place without a lawyer – no organization with this name exists in Russia – and behind closed doors, because the case was classified “secret”.
“LGBTs are not poor gays or lesbians against whom, as we are told, Russia has decided to fight. This is a well-organized and planned project to undermine traditional societies from within,” Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy assured on Telegram.
“Sodomy is a sin,” he repeated, calling for the complete “destruction” of the LGBTQ+ “monster,” not just its “tentacles.”
A spokesperson for the The Russian Orthodox Church, Vakhtang Kichidze, quoted by the Ria Novosti agency, welcomed this ban as “a form of moral self-defense.”
“Russia has shown once again that neither neither the collective West nor the United States would deprive us of the most important: a religious and national identity! » said Akhmed Dudayev, member of the government of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, on Telegram.
According to NGOs and independent Russian media, LGBTQ+ people have been secretly tortured and murdered in Chechnya in recent years.
In mid-November, the Russian Justice Ministry requested that it be classified as an “organization extremist” and banned “the international LGBT movement”, without clearly stating which organization it was targeting.
Any public activity associated with what Russia considers “non-traditional” sexual orientations could now be punished for “extremism,” a crime punishable by heavy prison sentences.
“Authorities could begin to open criminal cases against public figures and activists to create a climate of fear,” said Maxime Olenitchev, a lawyer from the NGO Pervy Otdel, which helps victims of repression in Russia.
< h2 class="h2-intertitle">“Peak of madness”
Until now, LGBTQ+ people faced hefty fines if accused of making “propaganda” — the term used by authorities — but not imprisonment.
The last decade has seen their rights be radically limited under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, who, with the Orthodox Church, claims to want to eliminate from the public sphere behavior deemed deviant and imported from the West.
Ian Dvorkine, founder in Russia of the NGO Center T, which helps transgender people, fled the country for fear of being accused of “extremism” and being thrown in prison for having created this association.
“Working in Russia becomes very uncertain […] It looks like those [LGBTQ+ activists] who survive will live entirely in hiding,” he told Agence France-Presse.
For him, this trial is “a new peak of madness”, and “more and more people” are asking for help to leave the country.
Since 2013, a law prohibits the “propaganda” of “non-traditional sexual relations” with minors, a text denounced by NGOs as an instrument of homophobic repression.
This law was considerably expanded at the end of 2022. It now bans LGBTQ+ “propaganda” among all audiences, in the media, on the Internet, in books and films.
In July, Russian deputies also adopted a law targeting transgender people, which notably prohibits them from surgical operations and therapies hormonal.