Russia adds ‘LGBT movement’ to list of extremist groups

by WorldTribune Staff, March 25, 2024

The Russian government has added the “LGBT movement” to its list of extremist and terrorist organizations, according to state media.

Russia’s Supreme Court banned LGBT activism in November. Authorities have already begun filing charges based on the law. / Video Image

The list is maintained by an agency called Rosfinmonitoring that has powers to freeze the bank accounts of the more than 14,000 people and entities designated as extremists and terrorists. Those on the list range from Al Qaida to U.S. tech giant Meta (Facebook) and associates of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The move on Friday follows a ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court last November that essentially outlawed LGBT activism in the country.

The new listing refers to the “international LGBT social movement and its structural units”, state news agency RIA said.

The Supreme Court ruling also declared the rainbow flag a forbidden symbol of the “LGBT movement.”

Displaying the flag is the basis for administrative penalties in at least three cases that courts have tried in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch said.

In late January, a court in Nizhny Novgorod sentenced a woman to five days detention for wearing rainbow-colored earrings after an individual accosted her and her friend in a cafe. Also in late January, a judge in Volgograd region handed down a fine over a rainbow flag published on a social media page. In early February, a court in Saratov fined a woman for posting a rainbow flag on social media.

Progressives in the West have been highly critical of the moves, but Russian leader Vladimir Putin said it is all part of his focus on family values that contrast with decadent Western attitudes.

Among other steps, Russia has passed laws outlawing the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relations and banned legal or medical changes of gender.

Under Russian criminal law, a person found guilty of displaying extremist group symbols faces up to 15 days in detention for the first offense and up to four years in prison for a repeat offense.

Participating in or financing an extremist organization is punishable by up to 12 years in prison. The authorities may include individuals suspected of involvement with an extremist organization in the countrywide “list of extremists” and freeze their bank accounts.

People deemed to be involved with an extremist organization are barred from running for public office.

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