Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that severely restricts the expression of members of the LGBT community in Russia.

In late November, Russia’s parliament approved the bill that expanded the definition of “LGBT propaganda.” Previously, the almost decade-old law outlawed this kind of “propaganda” only when aimed at children. On Monday, upon Putin’s approval, the law was officially amended to prohibit all “demonstration” of “nontraditional relationships or preferences” in public, online or in media.


Russian lawmakers argue that this law is necessary in defending the traditional values of the nation. Putin and his political allies have cast LGBT life as a Western idea that has infiltrated Russian society.

“LGBT today is an element of hybrid warfare and in this hybrid warfare we must protect our values, our society and our children,” Alexander Khinshtein, one of the lawmakers involved in passing the bill, said.

Citizens or organizations who violate the law can face heavy fines and suspension of business activities. LGBT-rights groups have said the new law is an attempt to drive members of that community out of public life completely.

The new laws also include penalties for promoting gender transition or pedophilia. Some activists have worried that lumping in pedophilia with sexual orientation will add to the stigma against the LGBT community.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2017 that the original law violated human rights and “served no legitimate public interest.”

Tanya Lokshina, an associate director at Human Rights Watch, commented on the new law on Monday before it was signed by Putin.

“The 2013 ‘gay propaganda’ law was an unabashed example of political homophobia,” she said. “And the new draft legislation amplifies that in broader and harsher ways.”

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