In Russia, since September 1, it is impossible to form a positive attitude towards gays and insist on the equivalence of "traditional" and "non-traditional" relations. Roskomnadzor approved the criteria for “propaganda” of LGBT people. Here are some of them:
- belief in the attractiveness of "non-traditional" relationships, as well as the formation of a positive image of LGBT people;
- the formation of a "distorted idea" about the equivalence of "traditional" and "non-traditional" relations;
- justifying the rejection of “traditional” relationships in favor of LGBT people;
- information that arouses interest in LGBT people and changes the negative attitude towards LGBT people “by imposing” information;
- information that justifies the benefits of LGBT relationships.
Lawyer Maxim Olenichev, who works with LGBT people, explained in a conversation with The Insider that these criteria expand the scope of already introduced legislative prohibitions on the dissemination of “gay propaganda”. He noted, in particular, that the criterion for propaganda is “the formation of a positive image of persons who are in non-traditional sexual relations”, despite the fact that this provision is not found either in the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (Article 6.21, Article 6.21.2), nor in other laws. But the courts have already accepted such an explanation, having previously dealt with “gay propaganda” cases.
According to Olenichev, the criteria contain many evaluative aspects that will be left to the discretion of the staff of the Main Radio Frequency Center (the RKN unit responsible for blocking in Russia), the RKN, the prosecutor's office and the court:
“People cannot, as a result of reading such criteria, understand what the state considers violations and what is acceptable behavior, but still their websites and blogs can be blocked. So, propaganda will be considered if the author convinces of the attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relations, arouses interest in them and justifies their advantage over traditional ones.
The lawyer noted that the RKN proposes to consider as propaganda "information aimed at changing a negative attitude to a positive one by imposing information about non-traditional sexual relations, including the systematic dissemination of materials depicting and (or) describing non-traditional sexual relations." “In essence, this is the activity of any LGBT initiative that advocates equality for LGBT people in Russia,” says Olenichev.
“The state seeks to make millions of LGBT people in Russia invisible. But people will not disappear from such actions: they will live in Russia, create families and build partnerships, relax, work and solve the difficulties that will arise due to the activities of the RKN. The activities of the RKN to block “propaganda” will lead to a sharp decrease in information about LGBT people, which in practice will reinforce stereotypes and prejudices. The consequences of this will be an increase in the stigmatization of Queer people in Russia, an increase in cases of discrimination and violence. Instead of solving the problems of vulnerable groups in Russia, the state is trying to shift the attention of society from current problems in the state to increasing hatred towards vulnerable groups,” Olenichev said.
The lawyer recalled that the RKN would use these criteria in order to block information about "propaganda" on the Internet. “To do this, he himself will determine whether there is propaganda, send a notification to the provider, who - to the owner of the site. And if the information is not deleted within 24 hours, the RKN will block it,” he explained.
In parallel, the RKN, the prosecutor's office or the police may initiate an administrative offense case for the dissemination of information. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the author or distributor of materials may face from 100,000 to 400,000 rubles, and for foreigners - such a fine or arrest for up to 15 days with mandatory administrative expulsion from Russia.
The Insider previously did a detailed analysis of the "gay propaganda" law, which can be read here .