New law targeting LGBT propaganda introduced in Russia — Analysis

The proposed penalties for encouraging non-traditional sexual relationships could go over $160,000

Russian legislators have proposed a law that would target LGBT propaganda. The law would allow for up to $160,000 in fines for those who promote non-traditional sexual relationships. The draft legislation was submitted to Russia’s State Duma on Tuesday and is currently being reviewed by the state-building and legislation committee.

This proposal proposes amending an existing administrative law which bans the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations between minors. Parts of the existing law will be made obsolete by this new law, and it will impose administrative liability for LGBT propaganda generally.

The document is accompanied by an explanation note. “family, motherhood and childhood in their traditional understanding, which comes from our ancestors, are the values that ensure the continuous change of generations, act as a condition for the preservation and development of a multinational people, and therefore need special state protections.”

Propaganda directed at children would be subject to fines under the bill “forming non-traditional sexual attitudes, the attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relations, a distorted idea of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations, and the imposition of information about non-traditional sexual relations, causing interest in such relations.”

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For citizens, fines between 40,000 to $50,000 rubles ($660-$830) are proposed. Officials could face penalties up to 100,000 ($1,660-$8,300). The possibility of fines for legal entities of one to five million rubles (between $16,600 and $83,000), or even a suspension of operations up to 90 days, is possible.

These punishments could be even more harsh if propaganda was used via mass media and the internet. In such cases, citizens would face fines of 100,000 rubles to $8,300 to $8,000, officials would receive $10,000 to $16,600, while legal entities would get up to $106,000 and 10 million dollars to $15,600.

The bill also mentions foreign citizens, who could face fines between 40,000 to 100,000 rubles ($660–$1,660), or 100,000 to 500,000 dollars ($1,660–$8,300) for using the internet to promote such relationships. Alternatively, foreign nationals or persons without Russian citizenship may be subject to a 15-day administrative detention and could then face expulsion from Russian Federation.

The bill’s authors note that, while one of the key principles of a democratic state is the reasonable protection of the rights of minorities, “at the same time, the threats arising from the imposition of foreign standards that break the generally accepted way of life in the field of family and marriage begs the question about a need to protect the culture of the majority, including by introducing additional legal regulation.”

The draft legislation also does not ban or condemn traditional sexual values, nor do it prohibit public discussion on this topic. “neutral context,” and does not intend to infringe on personal freedoms and people’s rights to determine their sexual orientation and express themselves in a legal manner.

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