A new poll shows support for LGBTQ rights in Russia has reached a 14-year high.
Their survey showed 47 percent of Russians agree with the statement “Gays and lesbians should enjoy the same rights as other citizens.” About 43 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement.
This is the highest level of support for LGBTQ rights in over 14 years.
But commentators say that this change could be because the Russian government has ramped down much of the homophobic rhetoric that flooded state-run media when gay propaganda laws were passed in 2013.
Antigay sentiment in Russia reached a high in the poll in 2013, when 47 percent of respondents disagreed with equal rights and just 39 percent expressed support.
“If fired-up people yelling about Russia’s perverted, millennia-old moral foundations are shown again, the degree of intolerance toward the LGBT community will rise again,” analyst Alexei Makarkin told RBC.
In the not-so-distant past, Russians in 2005 voiced stronger support than today. At that time, 51 percent of respondents told pollsters at the Levada Center that they supported equal rights for gays and lesbians, while just 35 percent opposed the sentiment.
Levada Center Deputy Director Denis Volkov suggested to RBC that the effectiveness of antigay propaganda from the government, which characterized homosexuality as a threat to children, has simply waned over time.
Notably, the survey also found an uptick in the number of respondents who personally knew people who were gay or lesbian.
Such exposure to out Russians appeared to reduce negative attitudes among the public, and those respondents who reported having LGBTQ friends reported more positive attitudes.