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MOSCOW – State media reported on Friday that Russia has officially categorized the “LGBT movement” as part of a list comprising extremist and terrorist organizations.

This decision aligns with a directive from Russia’s Supreme Court in November, which designated LGBT activists as extremists. Advocates for gay and transgender individuals expressed apprehension over potential repercussions, including arrests and prosecutions, following this ruling.

The compilation of extremist and terrorist organizations in Russia is overseen by the Rosfinmonitoring watchdog, which holds the authority to freeze bank accounts associated with these entities. The list encompasses over 14,000 individuals and organizations labeled as extremists and terrorists. Among those included are a wide array of groups, ranging from Al Qaeda to notable companies such as U.S. tech giant Meta and associates of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

According to state news agency RIA, the updated listing specifically targets the “international LGBT social movement and its structural units.”

This move aligns with Vladimir Putin’s agenda, which emphasizes traditional family values as opposed to what is perceived as Western decadence. Over the past decade, Russia has implemented increasingly stringent regulations on the expression of sexual orientation and gender identity. These measures include legislation prohibiting the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relationships and prohibiting legal or medical gender changes.

In the wake of Moscow’s war in Ukraine in February 2022, Russian authorities have intensified restrictions on civil liberties within the country.

In 2013, Russia prohibited what it termed “gay propaganda” among minors, extending the ban to adults in 2022. This legislation criminalizes the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” in public spaces and the media.

In the same year, Russia further restricted activities of what it terms “foreign agents,” facilitating state action against NGOs and websites receiving external support.

Additionally, last year saw Russia banning gender-affirming surgery, with Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin labeling gender reassignment as “a path to degeneration.”

Moreover, since the crackdown began, independent news outlets like Novaya Gazeta and Meduza have faced closure by authorities or have been forced into exile.

Read more here and here.

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