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Russian Orthodox Church backs anti-LGBT legislation  

04 November 2022


President Putin during a meeting at the official residence of the president last week

President Putin during a meeting at the official residence of the president last week

THE Russian Orthodox Church is backing a law prohibiting all forms of “LGBT propaganda”, which is expected to be tightened further after gaining overwhelming support at its first reading in the State Duma.

“The Church has always supported banning not just the LGBT agenda, but any agenda promoting sin in the public space,” Vakhtang Kipshidze, deputy chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for Church Relations with Society and Media, said.

“Any sin injures the public consciousness, and we therefore consider it completely unacceptable to promote sin if we seek a society based on true values of marriage, family, fidelity, sacrificial service, and patriotism.”

The official spoke as amendments were tabled for the second parliamentary reading of the Bill, which will ban any media and advertising information promoting “non-traditional sexual relations” and “rejecting family values”, while also criminalising “paedophilia propaganda”.

Speaking last week, the Duma’s Speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, said that 65 per cent of Russians had backed its provisions in a poll in the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. He said that tougher penalties were expected to be added when the Bill was retabled.

“We should do everything to protect our children and those wishing to live a normal life,” Mr Volodin told the news agency Interfax. “All other things are sin, sodomy, and darkness.”

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender groups have long complained of discrimination in Russia, where a law passed in 2013 made it a criminal offence to provide pro-LGBT information to children.

In October, the head of the Russian Book Union, Leonid Palko, voiced concern that books by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mikhail Bulgakov, and other writers might now have to be checked, under the new law, for pro-LGBT content, as well as for passages encouraging people to take their own life, adultery, and drug addiction.

This was denied by the Moscow Patriarchate, which said in a statement that the value of classic works had “never been disputed by anyone in Russian society”, and that their sometimes controversial contents did not amount to propaganda.

In a speech last week, however, the Duma’s information director, Alexander Khinshtein, said that LGBT activism formed part of a Western “hybrid war” against Russian society, and that soldiers fighting in Ukraine were also “protecting traditional Christian values”.

Patriarch Kirill told the World Russian People’s Council last week that his country had a “special mission” to help mankind resist “the blurring of lines between good and evil”, and to uphold “enduring spiritual and moral values”.

President Putin told an international forum that the West had now “lost its supremacy on the world stage”, and had “no right to impose its values”.

“If Western elites assume they can inculcate odd but newly fashionable trends such as dozens of genders and gay pride parades in the minds of their own people, so be it,” the President told the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow.

“It is the traditional societies of the East, Latin America, Africa, and Eurasia who now form the basis of world civilisation. . . The neoliberal model of an American world order faces a doctrinal crisis and nothing to offer except the maintenance of their domination.”

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