On Thursday, the Russian Parliament proposed a new law that would allow officials to deport foreigners for spreading ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda’. Any non-Russian national who violates this law could be fined up to 200,000 rubles (€3,300) and be expelled from the country, according to Russian media.
Russia has a long history of criminalising the ‘non-traditional lifestyles’ of LGBTQ+ people. The ‘gay propaganda law’ in place since 2013, has been described as political homophobia as it censors queer content and can be interpreted broadly. Russian authorities have used the law as an excuse to stop Pride marches and arrest LGBTQ+ activists in recent years.
The current law specifically prohibits promoting queer values or LGBTQ+ relationships to children, but in July, lawmakers argued that this law should be expanded to include adults as well.
The newly proposed law aims to further suppress queer content. It effectively prohibits foreigners from discussing “non-traditional relationships”, and it identifies sharing “non-traditional values” as a crime that could result in individuals being expelled from the country.
Russian lawmakers claim that they are defending their morality against liberal Western values, and this extends to all media. The terms of the law could be applied to anyone or any event promoting queer themes which means that all LGBTQ+ content shared through media outlets, social media, and cinemas could be criminalised.
Earlier this month, Russia threatened to fine TikTok 4 million roubles for promoting videos with LGBTQ+ and feminist themes. This week, a member of Russia’s parliament referenced a Peppa Pig episode where Penny the Polar Bear lives with two mother polar bears instead of a mother and father polar bear, calling it a western propaganda tool of war.
Meanwhile in Moscow, Russian MP Alexander Khinshtein has declared war on South Park and Peppa Pig pic.twitter.com/3UCZijwkx6
— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) October 17, 2022
Russia has long expressed a desire to suppress Western influences from impacting life in Russia. Most recently, Russian media has been using morality laws to justify the invasion of Ukraine, calling the war in Ukraine the fight against Western ideals and influence.
Human rights activists are concerned that the law will be broadly applied to further intimidate Russia’s queer community. The bill essentially supports homophobic discourse, suppresses any progress toward equal rights, and will likely lead to an increase of violence against LGBTQ+ people.
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