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Most Russians never seen gay 'propaganda'

Poll in Russia reveals overwhelming support for anti-gay laws despite most people claiming to have never seen 'homosexual propaganda'
A rainbow flash mob in St Petersburg, 2009, promote LGBT rights
Photo by Воскресенский Пётр

While the majority of Russians say they support a ban on 'gay propaganda', few have seen it, a public opinion poll shows.

The All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), the country's state-owned and government-run polling agency, found that out of 1,600 respondents, 86% support laws prohibiting public discussion of LGBT issues.

However, the survey also found that only 6% of Russians have actually seen so-called 'propaganda'.

In Moscow and St Petersburg, 85% admitted they had never seen it, with 96% of people living in rural areas saying the same thing.

According to the survey, television accounted for 57% of all instances of such propaganda and 8% spoke of a ubiquitous 'cult of homosexuality', reported Ria Novosti.

Last month, a national anti-gay bill, similar to the one passed in St Petersburg, was submitted to the Russian parliament by lawmakers from the Novosibirsk region.

The proposed law calls for fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($16,500 €12,400) for 'spreading homosexual propaganda' among minors.

If passed, it would gag gay and transgender people nationwide, potentially banning public discussion of LGBT issues or events targeted at gay and trans people.

The St Petersburg bill, passed in February 2012, makes it an offense to engage in any 'propaganda' that could give minors 'the false perception that traditional and nontraditional relationships are socially equal.'

The Russian states of Arkhangelsk, Ryazan and Kostroma have already adopted similar anti-gay laws.

The laws have been roundly condemned by Europe, the US State Department, human rights organizations and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender campaigners and individuals as well as their straight allies.

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