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Russia Expected to OK Stricter 'Gay Propaganda' Law This Fall

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 "Our enemy really holds the propaganda of sodomy as the core of its influence," a prominent Russian businessman told lawmakers Monday.

Russian legislators Monday discussed amendments to strengthen the nation's so-called gay propaganda law, and the changes are expected to be approved this fall.

The current law, approved in 2013, bans the "promotion of nontraditional sexual relations" in venues accessible to minors, but the amendments would extend the ban to all ages and would also outlaw "the denial of family values."

At the session of the Duma, the lower house of Russia's Parliament, supporters of the effort said strengthening the law will be helpful in the nation's war against Ukraine and its battle against what it considers Western values, Agence France-Presse reports.

"The special operation takes place not only on the battlefield but also in the minds and souls of people," said Alexander Khinstein, who chairs the Duma's information committee.

Konstantin Malofeyev, a banker and media tycoon, made similar remarks. "The war is not only on the battlefield," he said. "It is also in the smartphones of our children, in cartoons and films. ... Our enemy really holds the propaganda of sodomy as the core of its influence."

The Russian Book Union, an association of publishers, is concerned that a stricter "propaganda" law could result in the suppression of some classics of Russian literature, the newspaper Kommersant reports. The group sent a letter to Khinstein saying several publishers have wondered if the language about "family values" would make certain books illegal, such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel Devils, which has a scene involving sexual abuse of a child. Khinstein said he hasn't read the letter but doesn't think classic literary works would be considered propaganda.

Also Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered that 3.9 billion rubles ($63 million) be assigned to school curricula promoting patriotism, AFP reports. The Kremlin website says this should encompass "digital content and multimedia products" that support "the patriotic and spiritual education of children and youth."

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