‘Gay Propaganda’ Legislation Signed By St. Petersburg Governor

PoltavchenkoWell, that's it — you're now a criminal if you "promote" homosexuality to minors in St. Petersburg, Russia. Promotion, as Andy's been writing for months, includes the participation in/organization of Pride Parades and gay rights protests, as well as (who knows?) the maintenance of a gay website, the donning of a gay pride pin, the sporting of a gay pride bumper sticker, whathaveyou. It's the kind of foggy, subjetive law that can only be enforced selectively, by whichever petty bully is empowered to enforce it at the moment. 

The offending legislation was signed on March 7th by St. Petersburg's Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, a particularly dull-eyed KGB thug who rose to power on the same black tide as Russia's Once and Future President.

Here's a response from Polina Savchenko, the General Manager the St. Petersburg LGBT organization Coming Out:

Today it became known that the governor of St. Petersburg Georgiy Poltavchenko signed the homophobic law, imposing administrative fines on the so-called "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism" and paedophilia to minors.

Authors of the law maintain that it is designed to "protect children from information that can harm their physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual development". The term "propaganda" is defined as any uncontrolled and targeted distribution of information through any accessible means to minors that can […] form an incorrect perception of social equivalence between traditional and non-traditional conjugal relations". Authorities project "traditional values" and clerical rhetoric onto politics, and prioritize "interests of majority" over the value of human individuality. We realize that today, fascist-like rhetoric in Russia is becoming basis for legislative activity.

In fact, this law has little to do with protecting minors. Today, neither homosexual people, nor human rights defenders, nor lawyers can answer the question of how this law is going to be applied in practice, due to its vague nature and non-legal terminology. To talk about existence of homosexuality, to publicly denounce homophobic violence, to develop sense of self-awareness and dignity in homosexual people, to promote tolerance – all of these acts can fall under the "propaganda" law. This law will serve directly to further isolate and marginalize the gay community and encourage hate towards a social group.

60 years ago philosopher and founder of totalitarianism theory, Hannah Arendt, said that in a totalitarian state, citizens are "either victims or executioners and the movement by its ideology seeks to prepare them to fill either role." Handing out of roles has begun: Russian authorities legalized discrimination of homosexuals. What will come next?

We are convinced that no authority can deprive people of their right to dignity, to respect of private and family life, to freedom of expression and to protection from discrimination and violence. We are offended and outraged by this act by city authorities and will continue fighting for the rights of LGBT citizens until the barbaric law is repealed.

Nikolai Alekseev, head of the Russian LGBT Human Rights Project, sent an email to supporters reminding us that the St. Petersburg law is only one of four similar anti-gay laws in Russia, all of which he is fighting or intends to fight in the European Court of Human Rights. 



  1. bruce 23 says

    Poltavchenko is a vile little twit who looks as gay as a picnic basket. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a history of having sex with men.

  2. says

    You forgot to mention that Alekseev also criticized the St. Petersburg organizations for screwing this up — as if they or he could do anything about it.

    And someone posting on gay.ru said that he’s gay & lives with his sister and her underage son, who is now threatening to turn him in to the authorities for gay propaganda if he does anything the son disapproves of. Sounds like we have a new blackmailer’s charter.

  3. jason says

    Homophobia is a form of psychological warfare. It is designed to intimidate not only gay people but the gay concept.

    Be prepared, be very prepared.

  4. just_a_guy says

    Do they have anything at all like our First Amendment?? Based on the various oppressive news from Russia, my gut is no, but if they did, can we say “void for vagueness”?

  5. hpj says

    Saint Petersburg does not depend on tourism. It is difficult to get tourist visas to visit Russia, so the whole country remains well off the beaten path.

  6. Fred says

    Would make me think twice about going on the Atlantis cruise that will overnight in St Petersburg……

  7. Rin says

    Homosexuality was a criminal activity in the USSR. It was Yeltsin who decriminalized it. I think that is part of the problem. Yeltsin and all his reforms are getting washed away.

    The Bolshevik party is rising and they are the major challenge to Putin’s authority.

  8. timmy says

    Legislation that decriminalized homosexuality, as well as the moratorium on the death penalty were packaged and stamped by Yeltsin under agreement with the Council of Europe. This did not internalize anything – especially because it was attached to economic liberalization that purely benefited the new oligarch class.

    If anything, the Yeltsin liberals are extremely homophobic, using homophobic language and photos against Putin and Medvedev. Four years ago I think if such legislation were presented to Putin, he would have vetoed it, keeping in his crafted image as the good tsar. Today I think those liberals would use it against him if he tried to veto it.

    In the past, male boarding schools in Saint Petersburg were places where all the elite had homosexual experiences, while the church looked away. The Communists were able to reason that homosexuality is behavior of the decadent elite.

  9. SFshawn says

    Maybe they don’t rely on the tourist trade but Atlantis knows how to keep it’s clients(gay men) safe and will make sure not to stop for an overnight in St. Petersburg and with thousands of fairly affluent gay men NOT spending their thousands of tourist dollars on this homophobic country all the better. :) F’em.