Dmitry Kozak

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has backed a city bill banning “gay propaganda”, saying that the “disgusting activity” should be banned nationally.

Kozak said that he supports the bill which, if passed, would ban any Pride events or any “public activities promoting sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgender identity” in the city of St. Petersburg.

According to Interfax, Kozak went on to say that the proposed legislation should be considered for the whole of Russia.

“We should think about this topic on the federal level,” he was quoted as saying at a news conference in St. Petersburg, with the city’s governor Georgy Poltavchenko.

Poltavchenko added that should the bill be passed, it would be good for public morality.

“There is nothing more abominable than propaganda regarding such things,” he said.

The bill would impose fines of up to 50,000 rubles ($1,598) against offenders, and also includes banning the promotion of paedophilia, controversially equating it to homosexuality.

Legislators in Moscow have also expressed their interest in passing a similar bill in the capital.

Human Rights Watch said that the “bill is a blatant attack on freedom of expression and a thinly disguised attempt to silence Russia’s LGBT community”.

The U.S. State Department and the U.K. Foreign Office have both also condemned the St. Petersburg bill.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, in response, accused the U.S. of “interfering, what’s more publicly, in the Russian legal process”.

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