Staunton, June 10 – Russian government repression of those who support gay rights is cast in terms of the defense of children from what Moscow calls “gay propaganda.” But a new measure before the Duma drops that limitation and imposes draconian new penalties for any advocacy of homosexual rights.
Fines for individuals, organizations or media outlets all would go up dramatically if the new measure is passed. But perhaps the most disturbing innovation is one that would subject any foreigner charged with promoting gay rights not only large fines but a stay of 15 days behind bars (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=115162).
It is uncertain whether this bill will become law and how if it does the Kremlin will choose to enforce it. But the establishment of such special penalties for foreigners on this issue is likely to open the way for the setting of similar additional punishments for them in the case of other misdeeds from the Kremlin’s point of view.
And that will simultaneously deepen the divide between Russia and the West, something that Putin and company may want, while infuriating people in the West and especially influential entertainers and others who might still visit Russia in the future, an outcome that the Kremlin may not care that much about but certainly would prefer to live without.
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