Russia officially bans LGBTQ+ movement declaring it "extremist"

The ruling delivered by the Russian Supreme Court labels the international LGBTQ+ rights movement an “extremist organisation”.

This article is about the Russian Supreme Court banning the LGBTQ+ movement. In the photo, activists at a Pride march holding Pride flags and banners.
Image: Via X - @ilgaeurope

On Thursday, November 30, the Supreme Court in Russia passed a motion to ban the “international LGBTQ+ movement”, deeming it as “extremist”. Activists now fear that this will lead to arrests and prosecutions.

The motion to ban the LGBTQ+ movement was presented by Russia’s Ministry of Justice. The Supreme Court took around five hours to issue the ruling, with proceedings held behind closed doors. However, reporters were allowed in the courtroom to hear the final decision declaring the international LGBTQ+ rights movement an “extremist organisation”, with its activities now banned in the country.

Speaking to the BBC, Vitaly Milonov, an MP from the ruling party United Russia, said that the ban was “not about sexual minorities or the private life of individuals”.

“It’s more about the political agenda proclaimed by this LGBT international movement,” he continued. “They have their own tasks, their own goals. They act as a political force, a political structure and the goals of this structure contravene the Russian Constitution.”

When the reporter pointed out that there is no such a thing as an international LGBTQ+ movement and asked how they plan to ban something that doesn’t exist, Milonov replied: “Oh, it’s easy. We can ban any activities from LGBT international organisations here in Russia. That’s nice. We don’t need them.”

“And I’m looking forward to the next step: banning the six-colour rainbow flag,” he added. “We don’t need this flag. It’s a symbol of the fight with the traditional family. I hope that no one can show this flag in Russia.”


Commenting on the ban and its effects on the queer community in Russia, openly gay St Petersburg Municipal Deputy Sergei Troshin said: “I think this will mean that anyone whom the state considers an LGBT activist could receive a long prison sentence for ‘participating in an extremist organisation’.”

“For the organiser of such a group, the prison term will be even longer,” Troshin added. “This is real repression. There is panic in Russia’s LGBT community. People are emigrating urgently. The actual word we’re using is evacuation. We’re having to evacuate from our own country. It’s terrible.”

In the last decade, the LGBTQ+ community in Russia has faced increasing repression from authorities. In 2013, a so-called “LGBT propaganda” law was passed, banning all content related to queer issues and identities for minors. The scope of this law was then expanded to all age groups in 2022. Moreover, this year a bill banning gender-affirming care in the country was signed into law.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has frequently condemned LGBTQ+ activism in his attempt to promote Russia as a guardian of “traditional values” in contrast with what is seen as the corrupted West. He is expected to soon announce a bid to be re-elected for a new six-year term in March.

“I think [the court hearing] is linked to the presidential election next March,” said Sergei Troshin. “[The authorities] are creating an artificial enemy. They say ‘We are battling the West’. The battle with LGBT people fits in with this anti-Western rhetoric. Fighting both the West and the LGBT community is popular amongst the conservative, anti-Western part of society. So this topic will be pushed in the run-up to the election.”

Alexander Kondakov, a Russian sociologist at University College Dublin, also spoke about the ruling, saying: “It is not the first time we are being targeted, but at the same time, it is another blow. You are already marked as foreign, as bad, as a source of propaganda, and now you are labelled an extremist — and the next step is terrorist.”

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