[JURIST] Russia President Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian] on Sunday signed into law a bill banning the promotion of "homosexual propaganda" among minors. The law also imposes fines [AFP report] of up to 5,000 rubles ($166) and creates the power to suspend legal entities for 90 days for citizens who disseminate information suggesting that homosexuality is "socially equivalent" to heterosexuality. Additionally, foreigners who violate the law will face fines, administrative arrest up to 15 days and eventual deportation. In addition, organizations face fines of up to one million rubles and shutdown of their activity for 90 days. The fines increase to 200,000 rubles ($6,250) for officials who distribute the material through the media or internet. Last week, Putin denied that the law was anti-gay.
Russia has faced international criticism recently for legislation prohibiting the distribution of "homosexual propaganda" among minors. Last month the European Union (EU) urged Russia [JURIST report] to refrain from adopting "homosexual propaganda" legislation, which the EU believed could "increase discrimination and violence against LGBT individuals." In February a group of UN human rights experts also urged Russian lawmakers to reject [JURIST report] proposed legislation banning the dissemination of "homosexual propaganda" to minors. Last May prominent Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alekeyev became the first to be convicted [JURIST report] for spreading "homosexual propaganda" to minors. Last March the Russian lower house of Parliament considered a bill [JURIST report] banning the spread of "homosexual propaganda" to minors.