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Krasnodar Kiss Controversy: Russia Fines Women for 'Non-Traditional' Display of Affection

Published March 14, 2024
2 months ago

In a move that has drawn sharp international criticism, Russian authorities in Krasnodar have imposed fines on two young women for exhibiting what they describe as 'non-traditional sexual relations'. The women, aged 24 and 19, found themselves at the center of a "scandalous" controversy after a video clip surfaced online showing what seemed to be a mock wedding proposal, culminating in a public kiss at a local restaurant.

The contentious 'LGBT propaganda' law, which has been in effect in Russia for over a decade, proscribes the promotion of LGBTQ relationships in public spheres and across various media platforms. As a part of a crack-down campaign, this law has been increasingly fortified, rendering virtually any public display or acknowledgment of LGBTQ identities as illegal.

The incident occurred in February 2024 in Krasnodar, a city known for its conservative leanings, against a backdrop where Russia's legal warfare on "non-traditional" relationships has intensified. Following the posting of the video, a swift identification operation by the police brought the two women into the judicial crosshairs. They have each been charged and fined 50,000 rubles, approximately R10,125, an amount just shy of the average monthly wage in the region.

Subsequent to their apprehension, state media agency RIA released footage of the women issuing hesitant, blurred-face apologies at a police precinct; apologies they asserted stemmed from the unexpected backlash rather than any genuine advocacy for the LGBTQ community.

This story takes root in the larger context of Russia's ongoing military offensive in Ukraine, with the Kremlin's narrative increasingly painting the conflict as a clash of civilizations, with Western values, including LGBTQ rights, depicted as anathema to Russian societal norms. In November, the Russian Supreme Court escalated the situation by marking the "international LGBT movement" as an extremist organization, leading to potential punitive measures against pro-LGBTQ advocacy and even the mere display of related symbols.

The fines levied on the two women have provoked a widespread debate on the freedom of expression, human rights, and the scope of state intercession in private lives in Russia. The incident has noticeably underscored Russia's rigorous stance concerning LGBTQ rights and the treatment of individuals identifying or perceived as supporting such "non-traditional" orientations.

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