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LGBTQ+ rights activists march in St. Petersburg, Russia's second city, on May 1, 2013, during their rally against a controversial law which activists see as a violation of gay rights. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

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The Russian Justice Ministry said on Friday that it had requested a ban on the “international LGBT movement” for “extremism”, a new illustration of the ultraconservative turn in Russia, which has accelerated since the x27;offensive against Ukraine.

In a press release, the ministry does not specify whether it is aiming in one way general the LGBT+ movement throughout the world or if it designates one or more existing organizations. And he did not immediately respond to a request for details from AFP.

The Russian Supreme Court is expected to consider the ban request as early as November 30.

The ministry said it had filed an administrative request with the court supreme […] in order to classify the international LGBT social movement as extremist and ban its activities on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Since the offensive against Ukraine launched in February 2022, the Russian authorities have further increased conservative measures, particularly against LGBT+ people, saying they want to eliminate behavior deemed deviant and positioning themselves as a moral bulwark against the threat of violence. West deemed decadent.

For several human rights organizations, Vladimir Putin and his regime pursue a homophobic and transphobic policy. The Kremlin, for its part, affirms that individuals are free of their sexual orientation but that Russia must protect children in the face of Western propaganda which, according to it, denies the existence of a biological sex.

The announcement by the Ministry of Justice was denounced by specialized organizations.

The Russian government is once again forgetting that the LGBT+ community is people, citizens of this country like any other. And now, he not only wants to make us disappear from the public space but also ban us as a social group, reacted to AFP Dilia Gafourova, the director of the Sphere fund, an association for the defense of LGBT+ rights in Russia.

This is a typical measure of repressive and undemocratic regimes: persecuting the most vulnerable, she continued promising to fight.

Amnesty International denounced in a press release a shameful and deeply cynical decision.

Living in silence and in fear of being humiliated and imprisoned, this is the price that the State wants to impose on countless LGBT+ people in Russia, lamented Marie Struthers, regional director of this NGO for x27;Eastern Europe.

In July, Russian MPs passed a law that targets transgender people by banning their transitions, including surgeries and hormonal therapies, and banning any right to adopt children.

Since 2013, a law has already banned in Russia propaganda aimed at minors for non-traditional sexual relations, a text denounced by NGOs as an instrument of repression of LGBT+ .

At the end of 2022, this law was significantly expanded. It now bans LGBT+ propaganda from all audiences in the media, on the Internet, in books and in films.

For this reason, a ballet at the Bolshoi about the life of Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who was gay, was removed from the repertoire last spring.

Since 2020, the Russian Constitution has also specified that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, effectively prohibiting same-sex unions.

The main LGBT+ NGO in Russia, LGBT-Set (LGBT Network, in Russian), for its part, was classified at the end of 2021 as an agent of the x27;foreigner, an infamous label which complicates its operation and exposes it to fines, or even a ban.

This NGO helps since 2006 to sexual minorities in the four corners of Russia, notably in the Republic of Chechnya, where the authorities are particularly hostile to them.

The journal x27;Russian opposition Novaïa Gazeta and several NGOs revealed in 2017 that gays were arrested and sometimes tortured and murdered by the police in Chechnya.


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