The majority of people in Russia believe that LGBTI ‘propaganda’ is trying to undermine traditional Russian values, a Kremlin-backed survey has found.
The survey was conducted by the state-run firm WCIOM.
In the survey, Russians were asked if they believed if LGBTI groups were attempting to ‘ruin the spiritual values’ of the nation.
63% of those questioned said they did.
Far fewer said LGBTI activists ‘do not pursue destructive goals’.
Only 24% of people surveyed believed ‘there is no propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations in Russia.’
The remaining 13% said they were unsure either way.
An even greater number of those polled believed in a conspiracy orchestrated by an unnamed group of individuals who were ‘committed to rewriting Russian history, changing historical facts in order to harm Russia and reduce its greatness,’ Newsweek reported.
66% of respondents said they believed this to be the case, with 26 saying they did not.
‘Gay propaganda law’
The term ‘propaganda’ references Russia’s infamous ‘gay propaganda bill’ which came into effect in 2013.
The bill introduced fines for anyone publicly displaying LGBTI symbols or portrayals as normal to minors, classifying them as harmful to children.
Earlier this month a 16-year-old became the first person to be fined under the bill.
Maxim Neverov was fined for posting pictures of partially nude men embracing each other on social network site Vkontakte. A commission on juvenile affairs found Nverov guilty of ‘promoting non-traditional sexual relationships among minors’.
LGBTI activists expressed alarm at the ruling, as Neverov was the first person prosecuted who had not been actively campaigning for LGBTI rights. Prior to this, the bill had used as justification to clampdowns on LGBTI protests and activists.
In 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Russian gay propaganda law breached European treaty rules, violated people’s right to freedom of expression and discriminated against LGBT people. The Kremlin said that the court’s ruling was unjust.
Russia is known for its poor record on LGBTI rights, and clampdowns on the LGBTI community by state authorities are commonplace.
In a recent ILGA-Europe poll of LGBTI rights of 49 countries in Europe and Western Asia placed Russia as the second lowest European country polled, and five places from the bottom overall.