Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a law expanding Russia’s restrictions on the promotion of what it calls “LGBT propaganda”, effectively outlawing any public expression of LGBT behaviour or lifestyle in Russia.
Under the new law, which widens Russia’s interpretation of what qualifies as “LGBT propaganda”, any action or the spreading of any information that is considered an attempt to promote homosexuality in public, online, or in films, books or advertising, could incur a heavy fine.
The law expands Russia’s previous law against LGBT propaganda that had banned the “demonstration” of LGBT behaviour to children.
It comes as the Kremlin exerts increased pressure on minority groups and opponents of Putin at home, quashing independent media groups and further stifling free speech as Moscow ramps up a decade-long campaign to promote what it says are “traditional” values.
Authorities have already used the existing law to stop gay pride marches and detain gay rights activists.
Rights groups say the new law is intended to drive so-called “non-traditional” LGBT lifestyles practised by lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people out of public life altogether.