- Russian Ministry targets LGBT
- Extremist label, legal threats
- LGBT activists face prosecution
The Russian Ministry of Justice has petitioned the Supreme Court to declare the activities of the “international LGBT public movement” extremist.
The clarification regarding whether the ministry’s statement pertains to particular organizations or the LGBT community at large is lacking.
It said the movement had incited “social and religious strife” and exhibited other “extremist activity” indicators.
The prohibition may expose LGBT activists to the risk of criminal prosecution.
In the past, Russian authorities have labeled opposition groups and rights organizations, including Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, as extremist.
Review by Supreme Court
The motion will be reviewed by the highest court on November 30th.
The ban would render LGBT organizations unable to function and expose activists and staff to the risk of criminal prosecution, according to one of the few LGBT activists remaining in Russia, as quoted by the Moscow Times.
In essence, it would constitute criminal prosecution predicated exclusively on an individual’s identity or orientation.
Analysts posit that the action is a populist strategy aimed at garnering support prior to the presidential election of the following year.
Vladimir Putin has yet to publicly proclaim his candidature for a fifth term as president, despite the fact that this has become a widely held expectation.
Ongoing Repression under Putin
Vladimir Putin has restricted LGBT activity, which he sees as a Western attack on “traditional Russian values.”
The pace of this campaign was escalated subsequent to the incursion into Ukraine in February 2022.
In December of last year, legislation was enacted to prohibit “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” across all age groups. This was an extension of a 2013 statute that targeted juveniles.
Positive portrayals of same-sex relationships in advertising and mass media are classified by the law as the dissemination of pornography. They are also considered the encouragement of violence or the incitement of racial, ethnic, and religious strife.
Transgender liberties were restricted this year, as legislation was introduced in July that prohibited gender reassignment surgery.
In Russia, “non-traditional sexual relations” are not prohibited, according to official statements.
During a United Nations assessment of Russia’s human rights record on Monday, Deputy Justice Minister Andrey Loginov stated that LGBT rights were legally protected and that discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation was prohibited.
Nonetheless, the most recent action is likely to instill profound apprehension in a community that was already under imminent danger.
“Activists face pressure from the state, as well as from homophobic and transphobic groups, often enduring physical attacks,” the unidentified activist explained.
“We shall persist in our struggle,” she declared.