The Russian parliament could be on the verge of banning all public displays affection between gay people in its latest assault on LGBT rights.
Legislation due to be voted on in the Duma this week could impose a ban on all public displays of affection between gay people in the country - meaning kissing or even holding hands could lead to a fine or a two-week prison sentence.
In 2013, Russia passed a controversial law which banned “gay propaganda” - meaning any public speeches, writing or demonstrations which equates gay relationships to straight ones because it may "influence children".
President Vladimir Putin has recently claimed he condemns homophobia but is increasingly targeting what he calls “non-traditional sexual relations” as a corrupting influence on Russia’s morality and society.
Speaking to Russian newspaper Izvestia in November, Ivan Nikitchuk - the Communist party MP who drafted the bill - said the 2013 anti-LGBT law was “insufficiently effective”.
He said “homosexuality is a huge threat to every normal person, which can affect children or grandchildren, and thus interrupt the race”.
But he later told a Russian radio station that the new law would not affect women because they believed “women are more reasonable”.
The wording of the proposed law is vague and there are no guarantees the Duma will pass it, the Washington Post reports.
When the bill - which is currently at the first reading stage - was put before the Duma’s legal committee, they were unenthusiastic about it saying it would be potentially too difficult to enforce.
The Kremlin has not commented on the bill so it is unclear whether it is backed the government.
LGBT rights across the globe
LGBT rights across the globe
Russia’s antipathy towards homosexuality has been well established following the efforts of human rights campaigners. However, while it is legal to be homosexual, LGBT couples are offered no protections from discrimination. They are also actively discriminated against by a 2013 law criminalising LGBT “propaganda” allowing the arrest of numerous Russian LGBT activists. (Picture: Riot police hold an LGBT activist during a Moscow rall.)
Men who are found having sex with other men face stoning, while lesbians can be imprisoned, under Sharia law. However, the state has not reportedly executed anyone for this ‘crime’ since 1987. (Picture: Chinguetti Mosque, Mauritania.)
3/7 Saudi Arabia
Homosexuality and transgender is illegal and punishable by the death penalty, imprisonment, corporal punishment, whipping and chemical castration. (Picture: The emblem of Saudi Arabia above the embassy in London.)
Bruno Vincent/Getty Images
The official position within the country is that there are no gays. LGBT inviduals, if discovered by the government, are likely to face intense pressure. Punishments range from flogging to the death penalty. (Picture: Yemen's southern port of Aden.)
Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal and in some northern states punishable with death by stoning. This is not a policy enacted across the entire country, although there is a prevalent anti-LGBT agenda pushed by the government. In 2007 a Pew survey established that 97 per cent of the population felt that homosexuality should not be accepted. It is publishable by 14 years in prison. (Picture: The northern Nigerian town of Damasak.)
Homosexuality was established as a crime in 1888 and under new Somali Penal Code established in 1973 homosexual sex can be punishable by three years in prison. (Picture: Families use a boat to cross a flooded Shebelle River, in Jowhar.)
Although same-sex relationships have been decriminalised, much of the population still suffer from intense discrimination. Additionally, in some of the country over-run by the extremist organisation Isis, LGBT individuals can face death by stoning. (Picture: Purported Isis fighters in Iraq.)
Although being gay is not technically illegal in Russia, laws passed in recent years have made it harder and harder for the LGBT community to live openly.
Human Rights Watch says LGBT activists in the country have reported anti-vigilante groups are able to attack them “with impunity” and the 2013 law has fuelled the violence against them.
It said: “LGBT people described being beaten, abducted, humiliated, and called 'paedophiles' or 'perverts', in some cases by homophobic vigilante groups and in others by strangers on the subway, on the street, at nightclubs, at cafes, and in one case, at a job interview”.Reuse content