Poll: 83 Percent of Russians Think Gay Sex Is 'Reprehensible'

Russia poll

Most people in Russia think sex between two people of the same gender is "reprehensible."

In fact, a new poll from the Levada Center found that 83 percent of Russians, regardless of age, think gay sex is "always reprehensible" or "almost always reprehensible."

The survey asked 1,600 people from both the Eastern European nation's cities and the countryside in December for their opinions on issues like sexuality, extramarital sex, and abortion. Only 8 percent of those polled had no problem with gay sex.

Intolerance toward gay people has skyrocketed in the past two decades. In contrast, 68 percent of Russians found gay sex reprehensible in 1998, a figure that rose to 76 percent in 2008.

The increase in stigma coincides with the passing of anti-LGBT legislation, most notably Russia's infamous "gay propaganda" law that prohibits any public endorsement of "nontraditional sexual relations," which has been interpreted to include such things as Pride parades. Hate crimes against queer people have doubled since the 2013 law's enactment.

Russia has been criticized by activists as well as Germany's Angela Merkel for its inaction regarding the concentration camps of gay and bi men in Chechnya, a semiautonomous republic within the Eastern European nation. Putin initially denied the existence of the camps, while Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the existence of gay people.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Kadyrov over human rights abuses in December. He was accused of overseeing "an administration involved in disappearances and extrajudicial killings."

Reports emerged last spring that Chechen authorities were arresting gay and bisexual men, many of whom were identified through social media sites and apps, and placing them in camps where they were tortured. According to media in the region, more than two dozen have been killed. 

In an apparent coincidence, "reprehensible" was also the word of the day Friday for the Merriam Webster dictionary.

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