Russia takes crackdown on LGBTQ+ people to new extreme with official ban

Moscow, Russia - Russia on Thursday banned the "international LGBT movement," claiming it was an extremist group, a move that cements a long crackdown on the community as the Kremlin pushes conservative social values.

The Russian supreme court on Thursday designated "international LGBT movement" as an extremist group.
The Russian supreme court on Thursday designated "international LGBT movement" as an extremist group.  © IMAGO / Panthermedia

Over the past decade, President Vladimir Putin has told Russians to adhere to conservative social values promoted by the Orthodox Church.

The supreme court handed down the ruling in Moscow on Thursday, AFP journalists in court reported.

It did not say whether certain individuals or organizations would be affected by the ruling.

Alexei Navalny's body handed over to his mother, spokesperson says
Russia Alexei Navalny's body handed over to his mother, spokesperson says

The judge ruled that "the international LGBT public movement and its subdivisions" were extremist, and issued a "ban on its activities on the territory of Russia".

He said the order was effective immediately.

If applied to individuals, the "extremist" label means gay, lesbian, transgender, or queer people living in Russia could face years in jail.

Russian LGBTQ+ activists decry "low point of insanity"

The hearing took place behind closed doors and without any defense present, Russian media reported ahead of the verdict.

"One day it will be over but for now we need to try to continue to live and save ourselves," the Feminist Anti-War Resistance, which is critical of Russia's military offensive in Ukraine, said on social media in response to the verdict.

Other NGOs, including transgender rights group Center T, said they would publish safety guidelines for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Its director, Yan Dvorkin, who fled Russian citing security concerns, called the legal proceeding a "new low point of insanity".

Russia's conservative turn accelerated after it deployed troops to Ukraine last year.

Dvorkin said he believed LGBTQ people were being used as scapegoats by Russian authorities.

"They're losing the war. This makes people very frustrated and dissatisfied with the government. It's very easy to take that anger out on LGBTQ people."

Cover photo: IMAGO / Panthermedia

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