Propaganda is alive and well in Russia. Or so some lawmakers would have you believe.
Under a new bill that’s been given preliminary approval by the St. Petersburg city council, individuals and organizations spreading “homosexual propaganda” in the presence of children could be fined more than $1,000. Homosexual propaganda is defined by the bill as “enticements, positive opinions and comments” on homosexuality that could cause minors to form “warped perceptions” about what’s “socially acceptable,” the Independent reports.
A growing online campaign to fight the bill is expected to expand on Tuesday into real-life protests and flash mobs at Russian embassies around the world. The demonstrations’ organizer, global LGBT rights group AllOut.org, says the protests are a “last ditch effort” to stop the bill, which goes to a final vote in St. Petersburg Wednesday. The protesters plan to deliver more than 65,000 signatures to the embassies and wear gags to represent the people who will be muzzled by the law.
“This bill, which would violate Russia's own constitution as well as any number of international treaties, is an outrageous attack on the freedom of expression for all Russians - straight and gay,” said AllOut.org Executive Director Andre Banks in an e-mail. “It must not be allowed to stand.”
At a prior demonstration in Russia against the bill, police officers asked protesters to see their personal documentation. The police were confused after protesters requested to see the police officer’s credentials:
Filmmakers from the Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival, have also produced a video opposing the bill. It shows a group of people who vanish one by one as different minority groups are outlawed: