Why the newly introduced law labelled “anti-gay” by foreign media and politicians in reality might be an instrument for the protection of gays in Russia.

The new Russian law on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors” was signed by President Vladimir Putin on July 29.

The law criminalizes the public expression of support for “nontraditional” relationships but does not outlaw homosexuality. It merely aims at discouraging discussion of it among people younger than 18. The new legislation is being used by politicians and the USA, UK, Sweden and other Western countries in order to promote a negative view on Russia and their own political agenda.

In Russia this law is of minor public interest and many Russians who can access foreign media are surprised over the coverage it is getting in the English language press.

According to polls made by the PEWResearch Global Attitudes Project, 3 out of 4 Russians are answering “No” to the question: “Should Society Accept Homosexuality?”.2013-Homosexuality Poll

One would accept, just like most Western media seem to do, that this should translate into a general “hate” of homosexuals in Russia. If so, this is definitely nothing noticeable among Russians.

In fact, homosexuals are considered to be a normal and integrated part of the Russian society. So much that “Ivanov on the street” just doesn’t consider the LGBT-issue as being any issue and as an, in all meanings, “foreign” abbreviation.

The problem arises as soon as any group tries to paint themselves, not only in the colours of the rainbow, but also as being “special” and asking for special treatments and draws attention to their case.

In the case of a homosexual movement in Russia, its demands of special treatments have so far been in connection with the same legal issues as their peers in western countries are (or were) fighting for, namely the right of registration of marriage and the right to adopt children.

In the west, public demonstrations arranged by LGBT communities, turned out to be a possible way towards changes in the legislations of many countries and states.

In Russia not so.

Any demonstration for this purpose has so far turned out to be a trigger for even larger crowds attacking the “gay parade” and with the police indecisively trapped between their own beliefs and their official duty to protect the demonstrators.

Spectacular media coverage of the seemingly provoked violence in connection with such demonstrations makes some people wonder if not an “M” (for masochists) should be added to the LGBT acronym.

The new law on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors” has now become a tool to forbid any further demonstrations and with that avoid the inevitable violence triggered by them.

For most people in Russia (74% according to the PEW Research), and among them probably also the many being peacefully gay in their daily life, this law is an acceptable compromise. breshnev-kiss


This article was written by Karl Emil Olson, a guy (not gay) from Sweden living and working since more than 20 years in Russia. On his blog, www.therussophile.com, Karl E is comparing different views of Russia.