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Russia

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Index
  1. Russia Main Page
  2. The Bolshevik Revolution
  3. Emergence of the USSR
  4. The Berlin Blockade and the Cold War
  5. Dissolution of the USSR
  6. Financial Crisis and Political Upheaval
  7. Putin's Rise to Power
  8. Attempts at Chechen Independence Fail
  9. A Shocking Hostage Situation, a Move Towards Climate Change, and Radiation Poison
  10. Crumbling Relations with the United States
  11. Putin Retains Power
  12. Conflict with Georgia and the Demise of the Western Friendship
  13. String of Suicide Bombs Sparks Fear of a Crackdown by Putin
  14. Putin to Return to the Presidency
  15. 2011 Parliamentary Elections Spark Massive Protests
  16. Russia Blocks U.N. Action in Syria
  17. Assassination Plot Uncovered Before Putin Wins the Presidential Election
  18. Protests Become Violent Ahead of Putin's Third Inauguration
  19. Massive Flood Kills More Than 100 People
  20. The Kremlin Takes Action against Political Activists
  21. Russia enters the World Trade Organization
  22. One Punk Band Member Released as Case Continues to Draw International Attention
  23. Russia Won't Renew Weapons Pact with United States
  24. Opposition Leader Says He Was Forced to Confess
  25. Meteorite Fragments Injure Hundreds
  26. Anti-Gay Bill Ignites International Protests
  27. American Fugitive Seeks Asylum in Russia
  28. Russia Assists with Chemical Weapons Investigation in Syria
  29. Multiple Bombings Raise Fears for Olympics
  30. Russia Seizes Control of Crimea
  31. Putin Announces Annexation of Crimea
Anti-Gay Bill Ignites International Protests

During the summer of 2013, Russia's State Duma passed an anti-gay bill with a 436-0 vote. Backed by the Kremlin, the legislation banned the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations." The language of the bill was vague, but it was seen by the international community as an effort to crack down on homosexuality. While the State Duma, or lower house, voted on the bill, more than two dozen protestors were attacked by anti-gay demonstrators and then arrested by police in Moscow. After Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law in July 2013, athletes around the world wondered how this would affect the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The new legislation was part of a push back toward traditional values from the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin. The law included a large fine for holding gay pride rallies or for giving any LGBT information to minors. Some of the fines included up to 5,000 rubles for individuals and up to 1 million rubles for organizations. Those caught breaking the new law could be arrested. Foreigners could be deported.

Throughout July and Aug. 2013, Russia's anti-gay bill sparked international protest and outrage. Athletes throughout the world threatened to boycott the 2014 Olympics in protest. The International Olympic Committee began probing Russia to see how the country would enforce the law during the Olympics. In an effort to do damage control over the controversy, the International Olympic Committee said by late July that it had "received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games." Meanwhile, FIFA reported that it was also seeking out "clarification and more details" about the new anti-gay law from Russia, which would host the 2018 World Cup.

In July, an international call to boycott Russian vodka gained traction on social media. On July 31, protesters gathered outside the Russian consulate in New York City and called for a boycott of the 2014 Olympics as well as sponsors of the Winter Games by dumping several cases of vodka. On August 10, hundreds gathered in London near the residence of Prime Minister David Cameron and demanded that the government pressure Russia into repealing the law. Meanwhile, actor Stephen Fry called on athletes to not attend the Winter Games. Prime Minister Cameron responded to the protests on Twitter, "I share your deep concern about the abuse of gay people in Russia. However, I believe we can better challenge prejudice as we attend, rather than boycotting the Winter Olympics."

On Aug. 1, 2013, Vitaly L. Mutko, Russia's minister of sports, said to R-Sport, a state news agency, that gay athletes were welcome to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi. However, Mutko pointed out that all athletes participating in the games would be expected to obey the new law and that no athlete or attendee could promote any nontraditional sexual orientation. In his statement, Mutko said, "No one is forbidding a sportsman with a nontraditional sexual orientation to come to Sochi. But if he goes out on the street and starts to propagandize it, then of course he will be held accountable. Even if he's a sportsman, when he comes to a country, he should respect its laws."

Putin himself commented on the law while speaking at a conference in northwestern Russia on Sept. 19, 2013. Putin insisted that the new law did not infringe on LGBT rights and banned only "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors." He went on to say that there was "no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities." As for gay marriage itself, Putin said, "Europeans are dying out and gay marriages don't produce children."

Next: American Fugitive Seeks Asylum in Russia
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