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St. Petersburg: Georgy Poltavchenko signs homophobic bill into law

Source: (info), 12/03/12 

· Leningrad and St. Petersburg  · Sexual minorities 

The Governor of St. Petersburg, Georgy Poltavchenko has signed into law a bill banning so-called “homosexual propaganda and paedophilia”. The law will come into effect 10 days after the signing of the document. The law had previously passed three readings in the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg. 

According to Interfax, as reported by, violating this law will carry a penalty of a fine of up to 5,000 roubles for citizens, 50,000 roubles for officials and up to 500,000 roubles for legal persons. 

“On 11 March St. Petersburg city assembly passed a law making it illegal to read, write, associate with or talk about anything ‘gay’. The Governor of St. Petersburg wants to make his city the number one tourist destination in the world. If he passes this law, we will not go there. Millions of people will not go there." This is the message depicted in a short film, accompanied by music from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The film continues, “Governor, think twice, and enjoy this music by the famous Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky. A musical virtuoso, who was also gay. Oops.” 

In December Poltavchenko announced that if the law were to be passed it "would be to the benefit of public morality”. He added, "there is nothing more sickening than propaganda of such things”. 

On Wednesday, members of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg passed in its third reading a bill banning propaganda of homosexuality among minors. Members voted by name. Twenty-six members voted for bill. Five members of the Yabloko party voted against, with the party’s founder, Grigory Yavlinsky abstaining. Under this bill, a fine will be incurred for any "public action, aimed at promoting sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism or transgenderism." The corresponding article will be added to the Code of Administrative offences of St. Petersburg. 

Under this bill "public actions promoting sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism or transgenderism among minors, will lead to the conclusion that such are aimed at the purposeful and unregulated dissemination of information that could lead to harmful effects in terms of health and the moral and spiritual development of minors, such as their forming distorted ideas about the social and moral equivalence of traditional and non-traditional marriage". 

On 8 February, the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg approved the controversial bill in a second reading. According to the new amendment, anyone found guilty of propagandising paedophilia and homosexuality, will be fined. Individuals will be obliged to pay a 5,000 rouble fine while the figure for officials is 50,000 roubles and legal person could pay anything up to half a million roubles. 

Discussion of the bill has aroused heated debates. In particular, members of the Yabloko party have called upon their colleagues to stop the bill. They say the law will lead to discrimination against people with ‘non-traditional’ sexual orientations. Deputy Alexandr Kobrin, addressing the United Russia and Liberal Democrat members of the assembly said: “If the law is passed, the parliamentary majority will lose the support of homosexuals. These are your voters. Yours,” he emphasised. 

The author of the bill, member of United Russia Vitaly Milonov, maintains that the law is designed to ensure the morals of children and protect them from dissoluteness. In his opinion, liberalism on a series of issues has allowed tolerance towards drug addiction. He claims that the same cannot be allowed to happen with regard to ‘sexual perversions.’ In the end, the law was approved by a vote of 31 to 6.