Putin in dispute with officials over LGBT


Eastern Europe


Russia President Putin attends IX International Cultural Forum in St. Petersburg. Photo EPA, Mikhail Metzel

The Russian government is divided over the LGBT community. The Russian Justice Ministry wants more restrictions, but Putin promises more space in a remarkable statement.

The Justice Ministry of Russia announced on Friday that it filed a motion to ban the "international LGBT public movement." It did so in a request to the Supreme Court to classify the movement as an extremist organisation, Moscow Times reports.

The court is scheduled to look at the motion on November 30. If the judge passes the motion, activities from LGBT-related organisations would risk jail terms. According to the Justice Ministry, LGBT activities in Russia "incite social and religious discord" and thus violate the anti-extremism laws that are in force in the country.

At the same time, it is unclear what the Ministry actually means with the "international LGBT public movement", Reuters writes. LGBT activists worry that such a move would be a danger to all LGBT Russians.


However, on the same Friday as the Ministry of Justice filed its motion, Putin held a speech in St. Petersburg where he emphasised that LGBT people "are also part of society" and have "the right to win in various competitions". That is reported by Vsirazom. The Russian President called for equality of sexual minorities in all fields of life, Pravda points out.

Not only do Putin's statements seem to contradict the move of the Russian Justice Ministry, but they can also be considered a remarkable change in Putin's attitude towards the LGBT community. In the last decade, officials have spoken out against the LGBT movement, as they consider it a threat to "traditional Russian values."

Last year, Putin extended a ban on "gay propaganda", which promotes non-traditional relationships. At first, the material could not be shown to minors, but Putin's decree extended this ban to people of any age, Moscow Times writes.


Russia is not the only European country that attempts to curb LGBT activities. Lithuania, for example, has a similar law that bans the dissemination of information "denigrating family values and promoting the LGBT family concept", Baltic Times reports. Earlier this month, an attempt to abolish this law failed. The Lithuanian constitution stipulates that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and also contains a definition of a traditional family.

Hungary knows a law known as the Child Protection Law. Its aim is similar to the above-mentioned legislation in Lithuania: protect children against "gender ideology", as reported earlier by CNE.news. Same-sex couples are also not allowed to adopt children.

Eastern European countries cling more to traditional values than their Western counterparts. Western Europe is often seen as one of the most liberal areas in the world when it comes to the LGBT community.



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