July 25, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10093

As Russia Prepares To Pass Laws Restricting LGBT 'Propaganda,' Russian Political Scientist Bovt Warns Of A Return To The Worst Soviet Practices

July 25, 2022
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 10093

On July 18, a group of deputies from the systemic opposition tabled a bill at the State Duma banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations. Previously, [State] Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin advocated the need for such a ban. Not to be outdone, members of the Duma Information Policy Committee, headed by its chairman Alexander Khinstein of the ruling United Russia Party started preparing a bill on the same subject that will be more comprehensive

In their explanatory note to the bill the opposition members explained "the denial of family as a social value, the promotion of the so-called 'child-free' lifestyle, and the popularization of non-traditional sexual relations” were no less dangerous to society than the already-banned propaganda promoting drug use and suicide.

On July 8, 2022, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin claimed that Russia's withdrawal from the Council of Europe, freed Russia's hands in terms of introducing a ban. "It would be a correct thing to do, to introduce a ban on propaganda in behalf of non-traditional values," Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel.

The Information Policy Committee, would go beyond banning the dissemination of non-traditional sexual relations in the media and cinema, but would extend it to all spheres and manifestations, such as the Internet, and online films.

Critics of the proposed legislation feared the term propaganda was excessively broad allowing the courts to interpret it in the broadest terms.[1]

Anton Vorobyov, an attorney specializing in digital law warned:

"Whereas the definition of "non-traditional relationships" has already got at least some of its framework established in legal practice, the concept of "denial of family values" was uncharted territory. [2]

Despite such criticism, supporters of the legislation doubled down on toughening the provisions. The head of the State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children, Nina Ostanina, said that the punishment for "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" should be toughened. In her opinion, it is necessary to introduce criminal liability.

"It is necessary to toughen the punishment for promoting non-traditional sexual relations, and today administrative punishment alone is not enough, it is necessary to restore criminal punishment," Ostanina told a press conference. She also claimed that the bill supported Russian medicine in its fight against a dangerous disease. [3]

Critics of the bill basically confined themselves to the imprecise wording of the bill. In today's political climate, with the Duma apparently united on the passage of one version or the other, the critics are pessimistic about preventing its passage. An exception was political scientist and columnist George Bovt, who criticized the entire thrust of the legislation, and claimed that it originated in the anti-Western hysteria that had gripped Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine. Bovt warned that the bill presaged a return to the persecution of homosexuals that was until recently dominant in the West and the Soviet Union alike.  Such legislation would result in practices similar to the Islamic Republic of Iran or to the darker periods of Soviet history. Moreover, it would not stop with curbs on homosexuality but would extend to premarital sex and adultery.

Bovt's article follows below:[4]

George Bovt (Source:

"It is necessary to introduce criminal liability for the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations, the current administrative punishment is not enough - this opinion was expressed by the head of the State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children Nina Ostanina. 'We must do everything to support our medicine, to enable such people to be cured of this terrible disease,' added Ostanina. Earlier, she, along with a group of deputies, submitted a bill to the State Duma proposing to ban the dissemination of any information that negates family values, as well as the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations.

"Deputy Nina Ostanina in her fresh proposals went even further than she and her comrades proposed in the draft bill submitted to the Duma on 18 July. There, however, we are not talking about criminal liability or compulsory treatment. On the other hand, it is proposed to completely ban information that promotes non-traditional relationships, and in addition, such information that allows advocacy of denying family values. So that not only children will not know anything about it, but adults as well. For example, the promotion of childlessness, or 'childfree', as they call this way of life in the West [is also banned]. At the same time, the authors of the bill humanely agree not to deprive citizens of the opportunity and right to determine their sexual preference and orientation. But this must be done in strict silence, secretly and not as part of an organized group. That is, [do it] on your own."

Nina Ostanina (Source:

"It is proposed to significantly expand the ban's scope to the film industry, including online cinemas and everything within reach of the regulator's hand. It establishes a direct ban on the issuance of a rental certificate to cinemas for any materials that allow propaganda in favor of denying family values ​​and promoting non-traditional sexual relations. Given the current trends in 'collective' Hollywood [a jibe against the frequent use of the term 'collective West' since the invasion of Ukraine], at least half of the film releases and many 'Oscar-winning' works may not reach us lawfully. However, they don't get here in any case.

"Over the past month and a half, this is the third such initiative. In early June, the Legislative Assembly of Sevastopol introduced a draft amendment to the Code of Administrative Offenses, which stipulates punishment for "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" in the form of a fine of 40 thousand to 50 thousand rubles for citizens and from 1 million to 5 million rubles for legal entities. A month later, the speaker of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, personally advocated the introduction of a similar ban.

"There is a certain logic to this. As well as in the answer to the question, why all of a sudden now is it all being 'combed through'? If we perceive the current special operation carried out on the territory of Ukraine as a battle with the collective West, from where non-traditional filth is creeping towards us - and deputies are inclined to perceive what is happening in this way - then anything  non-traditional, including sexual, can, if so desired, be interpreted as an attempt to form in the home front, that is, in the rear, a 'fifth column', which will storm everything that is dear to us.

There is no problem in finding correlating examples. Here is blogger Yuri Dud, recognized as a foreign agent, now living in Spain, where same-sex marriages are allowed, interviewing an openly gay man, for which he was hit with a fine of 120 thousand rubles. Although the video was tagged 18+ and seeming should not fall under the 2013 law prohibiting the promotion of non-traditional sex relations among minors, which is currently the only one on this subject that is in force. But our court is able to look further and deeper than the existing law. Or here's Russia's, Daria Kasatkina, coming out, but at the same time she discusses the change of sports citizenship by Russian athletes in such a difficult time for them as a full boycott. And her girlfriend, as it turns out, is a former Russian figure skater, now appearing for Canada. That is, the proverb, paraphrased from the Soviet one, already begs itself: 'He who wears Adidas will sell out his homeland tomorrow.' Everyone can come up with a gay version for themselves.

"But it's not just about them. In general, it's about attempts to undermine - and, in the Duma's parlance, to deny - family values. Such negation can, according to the already established tradition in our country, begin to be interpreted as broadly as possible. Today it is 'childfree', and tomorrow, you see, sexual intercourse before marriage, cohabitation without a stamp in the passport, not to mention adultery. And then, you know, in USSR hotels they booked together only heterosexuals with a stamp, and now people have run wild. Conversely, we need to mobilize.

"And in general, a special body for monitoring and strengthening family values ​​suggests itself. As well as their codifications. For example, in Iran there is already an entire Republican morality police, that inter alia, ensures that women do not display their hair in public and wear the hijab properly. To complete the picture, it would also be necessary to form a pro-government NPO, consisting of 'correct gays', by analogy with the Anti-Zionist Committee in the USSR, which was headed by 'correct Jews', that is, those who did not leave [the Soviet Union]. And such a gay NPO will fight in its own way against misdirection, by first of all helping those gone astray to embark on the path of true sex.

"As for the even more revolutionary and archaic proposal of deputy Ostanina on compulsory treatment and criminal prosecution of gays, this is not new under the sun. Gays were criminally persecuted not only in the USSR, but also until the 1970s in many Western countries that have now legalized same-sex marriages. So, for every one of our [film director] Sergei Parajanovs, sentenced [in 1973] to four years for homosexuality, in the West there will always be an Oscar Wilde sentenced to two years of hard labor for about the same thing. Why go far that far back to the nineteenth century. Approximately to the middle of the twentieth century, including in the West, the leading school of thought considered homosexuality a mental disorder that should be treated both with medication and with electricity in order to sexually reorient those who need it. There were even specialists who linked such conversion therapy with the Christian religion.

And here you have a post-war story, well described in a good, but still not banned film 'The Imitation Game' about the British mathematician Alan Turing, who was one of the creators of modern computer science. It was he who invented during the war years a device for deciphering the secret codes of Germany and its allies, including the German Enigma scrambler. However, in 1952 he was busted for homosexuality. His work experience for the special services did not save him. Although we could have fixed him up in a "sharashka"[5]. Turing was subjected to chemical castration, deprived of the opportunity to scientific work and, in fact, driven to suicide. Many years later, Queen Elizabeth II, under whom all this happened, apologized. But of course, we don't expect such political perversions from Deputy Ostanina and her associates."

Part of Britain's amends to Turing, as he is commemorated on a fifty-pound note (Source:


[1], July 18, 2022.

[2], July 19, 2022.

[3], July 21, 2022.

[4], July 21, 2022.

[5] The Sharashka was part of the Soviet labor camp system but these camps were populated by scientists and engineers working primarily on military and defense projects. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn described such a prison in his novel In the First Circle.

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