Russia's State Duma has passed a law in its third and final reading that criminalizes "LGBT propaganda" among adults as well - a tightening of the previous law that sanctions "smuggling" for non-traditional sexual relations or gender reassignment in minors.

The law, which still has to be signed by President Putin, can criminalize any depiction of homosexuality in film, literature, advertising and on stage.

Kerstin Holm

Editor in the Feuilleton.

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Private individuals can be fined up to 6,500 euros, organizations face fines of up to 79,000 euros.

The fact that the legal text does not explain how a propagandistic representation differs from an informative or artistic representation creates an intentional uncertainty.

Although the law is not yet in force, theaters, bookstores and libraries are already cleaning up their inventories.

The frustrated society should be brought into line

The regulation serves to bring society, frustrated by the bleak prospects of the Ukraine war, into line with new bans and threats of punishment.

Nevertheless, many Russians should be amused that Duma spokesman Vyacheslav Volodin praised the law as the "best answer" to American Secretary of State Antony Blinken and, like Putin and Patriarch Kirill, stylized the war as a culture war over the right values.

Volodin, who has a friendship with actor Yevgeny Mironov, has always been considered a homophile.

Now Volodin declared that the United States, where the number of same-sex marriages and people with non-traditional sexual orientations are increasing, is the center of the global Sodom whose pseudo-values ​​they want to spread to the world.

The day after the law was passed, the Novosibirsk First Theater canceled the children's drama The Princess and the Ogre, the main character of which is played by a mustachioed actor in a wig and tutu.

Anonymous informers had complained that the play promoted non-traditional sexual orientations.

Critics didn't complain about the premiere in October.

Anonymous Complaints

The former director of the "First Theater", Julia Churilova, declared the allegations absurd.

The phantasmagorical, poetic piece plays with grotesque contrasts, she says.

According to Tschurilova, an open discussion with viewers and experts could have protected the production and the house.

But anonymous complaints, which unfortunately have increased over the past six months, and nebulous legal texts have already led to covert censorship and self-censorship by many artists.

One of the main reasons for the amendment to the law is undoubtedly the success of the book "A Summer with a Pioneer Scarf" by the author couple Katerina Silwanowa and Jelena Malisowa, which describes the awakening of tender feelings between two adolescents in the late Soviet pioneer camp.

The novel for young adults, which was published a year ago, lets its hero, who emigrated to Germany, return to the pioneer camp near Kharkiv in the Ukraine during the Putin era and review his encounter with the dear friend under the conditions of Soviet children's drills.

Anything that undermines morale should be destroyed

The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine made the combination of homoeroticism and Soviet romanticism doubly explosive.

As early as the spring, the fascist writer and Donbass fighter Zakhar Prilepin declared that the book, which was undermining combat morale, should be destroyed.

Prilepin demanded that Soviet symbolism be protected.

Film director Nikita Mikhalkov and TV propagandist Dmitri Kiselyov also expressed their horror.

Nevertheless – or perhaps fueled by the appeals to ban it – “The Summer with a Pioneer Scarf” became a bestseller and achieved a record print run of more than a quarter of a million.

The mostly young readers praised the sincerity, empathy and humor of the text, while Tiktok influencers staged themselves sobbing over the cult novel.

Today it is no longer available in state bookstores, but it is sold online at a discount, apparently in anticipation of the ban.

In many libraries you can no longer borrow it, you can only look at it in the reading room - together with works by ostracized authors such as Boris Akunin, Lyudmila Ulitzkaja or Dmitry Glukhovsky.