In the crosshairs

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12/07/2023

Last week, Russia’s highest court deemed what it called the “international LGBT movement” to be an extremist organisation and banned its activities in the country. This is not the first time Russian courts have issued a blanket ban on a poorly defined group. In 2020, a prison subculture known as AUE was also declared extremist. The ad hoc “movement”, whose name translates to Prisoner and Criminal Unity, was, the court ruled, a danger to society that was in no way lessened by its lack of a manifesto, clear hierarchy, formal leaders, or even a single structure. The Justice Ministry, which brought the LGBT case to the Supreme Court, argued that the movement’s activities amounted to “incitement to social and religious discord”. Human rights associations countered that no such movement formally exists. Lawyers contacted by Novaya Europe suggested that the Supreme Court decision was directed against multiple LGBT organisations, initiatives and public activists, and identified LGBT organisations that have already been labelled “foreign agents” as those most at risk — the Justice Ministry’s “foreign agent” register currently includes 30 groups and individuals associated with the LGBT community.

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