Hate Crimes in Russia Double After Passing Anti-Gay Propaganda Law

· Updated on June 20, 2018

Researchers found that the rate of hate crimes against LGBTQ people in Russia has doubled in the last five years since the passing of a law banning “gay propaganda,” according to Reuters.

Of the 250 hate crimes recorded, 200 have been murders, according to the Center for Independent Social Research. The institution attributed the rise to the law, which banned materials discussing homosexuality, which is meant to prevent children from learning about it, in Russia.

“(Offenders) have become more aggressive and less fearful,” Svetlana Zakharova, a board member with Russian LGBT Network, the country’s most prominent gay rights campaign group, told Reuters. “It seems to them that, to some extent, the government supports their actions. Many perpetrators openly talk about their crimes as noble deeds.”

Most victims of the reported crimes in Russia were gay men. The number of sentences handed out for these crimes has risen, as well. In 2015, 65 people were sentenced as opposed to 18 people in 2010. Hate crime numbers are underreported, though, according to researchers.

The law has led to several LGBTQ group members being arrested during parades. During a 2016 May Day parade, LGBTQ activists were rounded up and jailed, while neo-Nazis were allowed to march freely. Earlier in 2017, a Russian LGBTQ pride event was held in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Attendees spoke about the anti-LGBTQ climate in Russia as well as the ongoing capture and torture of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.

In June, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the propaganda law violates the freedom of expression.

Homosexuality was illegal in Russia until 1993. Russia is currently ranked Europe’s second least friendly nation for LGBTQ people, according to ILGA-Europe, a network of European LGBT groups.

(Photo Credit:OLGA MALSTEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

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