Vladimir Putin signs anti-gay propaganda bill

Published: June 30, 2013

In another controversial step, Mr Putin also signed a bill imposing jail terms and fines on those who offend religious believers, seen as a response to last year’s anti-Putin stunt by the punk band Pussy Riot in a Moscow cathedral.

Rights activists and Western governments have criticised both bills as part of an unprecedented crackdown on dissenting voices after Mr Putin returned to the Kremlin last year.

The anti-propaganda law introduces fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for citizens who disseminate information aimed at minors "directed at forming nontraditional sexual setup" or which may cause a "distorted understanding" that gay and heterosexual relations are "socially equivalent", the official publication of the bill showed.

Opponents have called the bill homophobic and so vaguely defined that it would inevitably be used arbitrarily and stir anti-gay sentiment in the country. However, it sailed through parliament and Mr Putin had promised in advance that he would sign it.

The fines go up to as much as 200,000 rubles ($6,250) for officials if such "propaganda" is disseminated through the media or Internet.

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