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41% of Russians say authorities should persecute gays to ‘exterminate the phenomenon’

41% of Russians say authorities should persecute gays to ‘exterminate the phenomenon’

Minsk Pride 2011.

Homophobia in Russia has significantly worsened in the last decade, according to a new survey by state-run pollster VTsIOM.

The proportion of respondents who consider LGBTI people dangerous and said they should be ‘isolated from society’ grew from 12% in 2004 to 20%.

Some 22% percent said they didn’t care about other people’s sexual orientation – compared with 24% in 2004 – while 15% said LGBTI people were ‘normal’ but they wouldn’t socialize with them.

Nearly half of all respondents (41%) said the authorities should persecute people with ‘untraditional sexual preferences’ in order to ‘exterminate the phenomenon,’ while only 12% agreed that the government should protect LGBTI people from discrimination.

‘In this aspect Russia is about twice as conservative as even China,’ Alexei Firsov, VTsIOM’s communications director, said.

‘It’s interesting that we are swimming against the current, strengthening, despite global trends, intolerance toward homosexual relationships. This indicator might serve as a parameter of national identification.’

Attitudes toward gay marriage have also hardened.

Eight in 10 Russians said they were against gay marriage – compared with 59% in 2005 – while the proportion of of respondents who think LGBTI people should be allowed to marry fell from 14% to 8%.

Only 3% of respondents said LGBTI people should be able to raise children. Another 3% supported gay marriage but said kids should not be brought up in same-sex households.

A small decrease was, however, recorded in the proportion of Russians who think homosexuality is a medical or social disease, from 36% in 2004 to 35% in 2015.

VTsIOM polled 1,600 Russians in 46 regions between 11-12 April and 4-5 July. The margin of error was no greater than 3.5%.