Now just days away from the Opening Ceremonies at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, several more charges have been made under Russia's draconian anti-gay law.
The charges made so far highlight the absurdity and breadth of the law's power. A newspaper editor, the creator of an online support group, and a ninth grade girl have faced varying punishments so far for allegedly spreading "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors.
On January 29, Molodoi Dalnevostochnik chief editor Alexander Suturin was fined 50,000 roubles for publishing an article that included a quote from a teacher who had been fired for being gay. The fine received is equivalent to $1,400, is more than three times the average monthly salary of someone from the region, and is half the maximum fine possible under this law. According to Gay Star News, Alexander's judge said the article's quote ("being gay is normal") would teach children that "'serial killers' are also normal." It's unknown if Suturin's paper will be forced to close. Suturin was the fourth person to be charged under the "propaganda" law and his case marked the first time a Russia media outlet was targeted by the law.
Days later, Lena Klimova, who created an online support group called for gay teens called "Children-404" in Russia was charged with the same supposed crime. She was accused of turning kids gay, so to speak, with a website that publishes testimonies from teens about being LGBT in Russia.
In an interview with Café Babel in September 2013, Lena said, "the recent propaganda law has unambiguously worsened the situation for LGBT people in Russia." She added her belief that "the majority [of Russian people] are not homophobic [but] they take the homophobic side, because they have no access to elementary information such as the fact that homosexuality is not an illness. They have no place to find such information."
Additionally, GLAAD reported earlier today on a young girl has been placed under the supervision of the local juvenile commission after having come out as gay. There is no doubt that while the Russian government claims to enforce such a law in order to protect youth, no one is safe from the anti-LGBT climate, including kids and teens.
It's evident that the effort to ban "propaganda" is effectively silencing news outlets from accurate and balanced reporting, as well as social groups from forming in order to support each other as anti-LGBT violence and vitriol continue to grow.