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Russia Announces Chilling Move to Label 'International Public LGBT Movement' as 'Extremist'

Putin Russia Against LGBT
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The move is a further escalation of attacks on the LGBTQ+ community in Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s Ministry of Justice announced today it petitioned its country’s Supreme Court to declare the “international public LGBT movement” an extremist element and ban its activities within the country.

“The Russian Ministry of Justice has lodged an administrative legal claim with the Supreme Court to recognize the International LGBT public movement as extremist and ban its activity in Russia,” the ministry said in a statement announcing the move online on Friday.

The ministry further accused the “movement” of exhibiting “various signs and manifestations of extremism, including incitement to social and religious hatred.”

The statement, reported by Barron’s and other media, did not identify any specific LGBTQ+ groups, nor did it clarify what actions would result if the court granted the petition.

Russia has become increasingly hostile to the LGBTQ+ community under the reign of President Vladimir Putin. In July he directed sexologists to help gay people overcome what he called the “mental disorder” of same-sex sexual attraction. A month earlier he ordered the Ministry of Health to create an institute to study queer people at the Serbsky Center for Psychiatry and Narcology.

In June Russia also passed a bill that banned gender-affirming surgery and treatment and outlawed changing official documents to align with a person’s true gender.

Last December, Putin signed a law strengthening a ban on LGBTQ “propaganda” in Russia and making it illegal to promote same-sex sexual relations or suggest non-heterosexual attractions are “normal.” Individuals can be fined up to 400,000 rubles ($6,370) for “LGBT propaganda” and up to 200,000 rubles ($3,185) for “demonstrations of LGBT and information that encourages a change of gender among teenagers.” The fines increase to 5 million rubles ($80,000) and 4 million rubles ($64,000) respectively for legal entities.

Olympian and WNBA star Britney Griner was held under harsh conditions in a Russian prison for nine months last year. She was held after empty vape cartridges containing remnants of THC were discovered in her luggage upon arrival in Moscow to play professionally in a local league. She was released in a prisoner exchange in December. Shortly after her release, Griner said she would never play overseas again unless it was in the Olympics.

The next court hearing for the petition from the Ministry of Justice is currently scheduled for November 30.

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