Into
We're new here. Queer news and culture. For everyone.
Oops! something went wrong. Please try again.
Yay! You're on the list!

A new poll is yet another reminder that LGBTQ activists have a long way to go in Russia. Five out of six respondents (or 83 percent) claimed homosexuality is “always” or “almost always” reprehensible in a new poll conducted by the Independent Levada Center (ILC).

The non-governmental polling agency spoke with 1,600 people from 48 different regions of the Eurasian country for its survey, the result of which were released Thursday.

A very small number of respondents to the ILC survey expressed support for LGBTQ rights, as originally reported in The Moscow Times. Less than one in 10—or eight percent—of those polled claimed there’s nothing wrong with same-sex relationships.

The Moscow-based research group, which conducted the poll between Dec. 15 and 20, has indicated a pronounced surge in anti-LGBTQ animus in the past decade. When the ILC undertook the same survey in 2008, around three-quarters of Russians (74 percent) objected to homosexuality. That’s a 12 percent increase in 10 years time.

Russia’s uptick in homophobic sentiment is not a accident: It correlates with the passage of the country’s anti-LGBTQ “propaganda” law, signed into effect in 2013.

The harsh law forbids the spread of information on “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors, as well as portraying same-sex relationships in a positive light. In effect, the directive has served to stamp out queer life in Russia: An HIV/AIDS activist, Evdokia Romanova, was fined $789 in October for posting news articles about LGBTQ issues on Facebook.

Russia’s “propaganda” law, which was unanimously approved by the State Duma, has also caused anti-LGBTQ hate crimes to double in the four years since its passage.

Although LGBTQ people have never enjoyed widespread acceptance in Russia, the ILC data shows that the situation for queer and trans people was drastically different 20 years ago. At the time, nearly a third of Russians (32 percent) felt same-sex relationships were morally permissible.

The polling agency found there was a generation gap in LGBTQ acceptance two decades ago. Those under 31 were more likely to have no issue with homosexuality than Russians over that dividing line.

Today, there is no difference in support for LGBTQ equality among age groups.


Nico Lang
Nico Lang is a staff writer for INTO, covering news, politics, and global LGBTQ issues.