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Russia adds 'LGBT movement' to list of extremist groups

March 22, 2024

A Russian monitor with the power to freeze bank accounts has designated the 'LGBT movement' an extremist organization. It comes after a similar ruling from the Supreme Court last November.

LGBTQ+ activists holding flags in front of police officer at pride rally in Saint Petersburg, Russia
A Russian watchdog has added the LGBTQ+ community to a list of extremist and terrorist organizations as Moscow continues to crack down on freedom of expressionImage: OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP

Russia added on Friday what it called the "LGBT movement" to a list of extremist and terrorist organizations.

It comes after Russia's Supreme Court ruled in November that LGBTQ+ activists should be designated extremists following a petition from Moscow's Justice Ministry.

Rosfinmonitoring watchdog logo at 2023 St Petersburg International Legal Forum
Russia's blacklist for extremist and terrorist groups is managed by the Rosfinmonitoring watchdog, which is authorized to freeze bank accountsImage: Peter Kovalev/Tass/dpa/picture alliance

What else do we know about Russia's blackist for 'extremists'?

The list is maintained by the Rosfinmonitoring agency, which has the ability to freeze bank accounts belonging to people or groups designed as extremists or terrorists. At present, the list includes 14,000 people and entities.

Other organizations on the blacklist include the Islamist terror group al-Qaeda and the US tech firm Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.

Russia's RIA state news agency said the designation refers to the "international LGBT social movement and its structural units."

Earlier this week, a Russian court ordered two employees of a gay bar to be held in pre-trial detention, marking the first such case since the Supreme Court decision. They were accused of running an "extremist organization."

LGBTQ+ community targeted amid crackdown on rights

Russian authorities have increasingly clamped down on civil liberties in the country following the start of Moscow's war in Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia banned what it called "gay propaganda" among adults in 2022, which outlawed the expression of "non-traditional sexual relations" in public and in the media. In 2013, it was banned among minors.

The same year, Russia also tightened restrictions on what it calls "foreign agents," making it easier for the state to crack down on NGOs and websites receiving any kind of support from outside the country. 

Last year, Russia banned gender-affirming surgery, with Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin calling gender reassignment "a path to degeneration."

Independent news outlets such as Novaya Gazeta and Meduza have been shut down by authorities or driven into exile since the start of the crackdown.

sdi/rc, sms (Reuters, AFP)