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Russia’s Supreme Court rules to ban LGBTQ activism in Russia



LGBTQ activism in Russia

In a move that has sparked widespread criticism, Russia has passed a bill to expand its controversial ‘LGBT propaganda’ law. Critics argue that this escalation is part of a broader ‘war’ with the West, while the UN human rights chief, Volker Turk, has urged Russian authorities to immediately repeal laws that impose improper restrictions on human rights defenders and discriminate against the LGBT community.

Background and Context

President Vladimir Putin, expected to announce his candidacy for a new six-year term in March, has long projected an image of Russia as a defender of traditional moral values in contrast to what he perceives as a decadent West. Last year, he expressed that the West could adopt new trends like diverse gender identities and gay parades but had no right to impose them on other nations.

The recent bill’s passage is seen as a further step in Putin’s pursuit of this narrative, aligning with the Kremlin’s stance on promoting traditional values.


UN Human Rights Chief’s Call to Repeal

Volker Turk, the UN human rights chief, has called on Russian authorities to repeal the expanded legislation immediately. The call emphasizes the need to eliminate laws that impede the work of human rights defenders and discriminate against the LGBT community, signaling international concern over the curtailing of fundamental rights in Russia.

Putin’s Silence and Court Decision

President Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, stated that the Kremlin was not following the case and refrained from commenting on it. The court, in a ruling that took around five hours, backed the justice ministry’s Nov. 17 request to broaden the law. This request claimed the identification of “various signs and manifestations of extremist orientation” within the activities of the LGBT movement in Russia.

Impact on LGBT Community


LGBT activists view the decision as inevitable, especially after the justice ministry’s request. The vague definition of “LGBT movement” in the court’s ruling raises concerns about potential abuse of the law. Activists argue that the decision contradicts official statements asserting equal rights for the LGBT community and paints a bleak picture for the future.

Mixed Reactions in Russia

Public opinion in Russia appears divided on the issue. Some, like a young woman named Lera, express a desire for a free world where people can love whomever they choose, while others, like Daniil, believe that same-sex relationships are “not normal.” Such divergent views highlight the societal complexities surrounding the acceptance of LGBTQ+ rights in Russia.

International Concerns and Repression

With over 100 groups already banned in Russia as “extremist,” concerns grow about the potential for arrests and further repression of fundamental rights. The lack of clarity in the court’s definition of the “LGBT movement” leaves room for abuse, deepening international worries about the deteriorating situation for the LGBTQ+ community in Russia.


UN Human Rights Office’s Assessment

Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office, states that the situation for the LGBT community in Russia is “just going from bad to worse.” She emphasizes the law’s lack of clarity, leaving it open to abuse and further repressing the fundamental rights of the LGBT community.

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