Russia’s justice ministry said Friday it had filed a formal complaint calling for a ban of the “international LGBT public movement,” without specifying whether it was seeking the closure of specific groups in the country.
It is the latest move in Russia’s long-standing crackdown against the LGBTQ community and people with what authorities call “non-traditional” sexual orientation and gender identities.
“The Russian justice ministry 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,” it said in a statement.
The extremist label has been used by Russian authorities against swathes of rights organisations and opposition groups, which opens its members to prosecution.
The ministry accused the “LGBT movement operating on the territory of the Russian Federation” of “various signs and manifestations of extremism, including incitement to social and religious hatred.”
It did not specify what exactly it meant by that movement, but said a court hearing was scheduled for November 30.
Since launching its offensive in Ukraine — often portrayed as an existential fight against Western liberal values — Russia has accelerated its campaign against LGBTQ groups.
“Russian authorities are once again forgetting that the LGBT+ community are human beings,” said Dilya Gafurova, the head of LGBTQ rights group Sphere.
Authorities “don’t just want to erase us from the public field: they want to ban us as a social group,” Gafurova added.
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