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Russia May Double Fines Under LGBTQ+ 'Propaganda' Law

Vladimir Putin
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The proposal will be discussed by legislators this fall.

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Russia is considering doubling fines for violation of its so-called gay propaganda law.

The law, adopted in 2013, bans any positive discussion of LGBTQ+ issues or identities in venues accessible to minors. It has been used to ban Pride events and punish LGBTQ+ activists. It has also contributed to a generally anti-LGBTQ+ atmosphere and been blamed for hate crimes.

Russian legislators Wednesday released a proposal to double the fine for violation of the law by organizations or other entities to 2 million rubles, the equivalent of $33,000, Reuters reports. The penalty would increase to 5 million rubles for violations online or in media outlets. The fines for individuals would increase to a maximum of 400,000 rubles, and people from other countries would be deported.

The bill will be discussed in the fall session of the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly, Russia's parliament, Duma member Alexander Khinshtein told Reuters. He and other members of the body would also like to see the "propaganda" ban extended to material shared with adults, an idea that first made news in July.

"Currently, liability only applies to LGBT propaganda among children," he said. "My colleagues on the committee and I would like to extend it to any propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations, regardless of age."

Russia has enforced the law in a variety of situations. TikTok was recently threatened with a 4 million ruble fine because it shared videos with LGBTQ+ themes, and Russian regulators have asked an association of publishers to consider ending their distribution of books that have LGBTQ+ subject matter, Reuters reports.

Russia's homophobia and transphobia have drawn widespread international condemnation. But legislators said they felt free to expand the "propaganda" law now that the nation has left the Council of Europe, a human rights body. Russia left the group after its invasion of Ukraine this year.

Russia adopted a new constitution in 2020 that allowed for longer presidential terms --to the benefit of President Vladimir Putin -- and defined marriage as solely a male-female union. Putin has allied himself closely with anti-LGBTQ+ forces, including the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.