Members of the Russian LGBTQIA+ community fear for their safety if labelled an extremist group in an upcoming court decision.
On the 18th of November, Russia’s Ministry of Justice announced it had petitioned the Supreme Court to declare the “international public LGBT movement” an extremist element and ban its activities within the country.
“The Russian Ministry of Justice has lodged an administrative legal claim with the Supreme Court to recognise the International LGBT public movement as extremist and ban its activity in Russia,” the ministry said.
The request doesn’t include a specific definition of “the movement.” People fear that President Vladimir Putin would use the ruling to crack down on the Russian LGBTQIA+ community.
Russia has become increasingly hostile to the LGBTQIA+ community under Putin’s administration. In July, he directed professionals to help gay people overcome what he said is the “mental disorder” of same-sex attraction.
In June, they passed a bill banning gender-affirming surgery.
LGBTQIA+ people are already seeing harsher punishments for crime.
Earlier this month, Lesbian artist Alexandra Skochilenko was sentenced to seven years in a penal colony for protesting. Her crime? She replaced price tags in a supermarket with messages that criticise Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
Alexei Sergeyev, a Russian LGBTQ+ activist, told Reuters that the upcoming Supreme Court decision would deny the community support resources.
“This will all be so underground that, unfortunately, I’m sure there are many people who won’t be able to get help.”
“Their life will be shortened and their health will deteriorate, they will drink and smoke more, and so on, somehow trying to escape from this reality.”