Is Russia's Anti-Gay Propaganda Working? More Russians Oppose Same Sex Relationships

Sunday October 17, 2021
Originally published on October 15, 2021

Russian LGBTQ protesters
Russian LGBTQ protesters  (Source:Associated Press)

The Russian propaganda campaign against the LBGTQ+ lifestyle is beginning to pay off if a new poll is to be believed. "More Russians oppose same-sex relationships than they did nearly a decade ago, according to a new survey released Friday," reports the Moscow Times on their English language website.

"The Levada survey showed an increasing split in how Russian society views same-sex relationships, with those in support increasing slightly from 23% in 2013 to 25%. The proportion who said they were undecided declined from 17% to 7%, following years in which the issue of LGBT rights has become a prominent part of the government's anti-Western messaging on state television."

Asked about their personal views of gay people, more respondents expressed "disgust" and "fear" (38%) than in 2013 (26%), Levada said. At the same time, the share of those who viewed people who identify as homosexual in a neutral light has grown from 23% to 32% over the same period.

"The survey also showed strong correlation between people who personally know an LGBT person and support for LGBT rights, with 70% backing among the few respondents who said they have LGBT acquaintances," adds the Moscow Times.

The most recent volley in Vladimir Putin's anti-LGBTQ+ policies came last month when a Russian official proposed that LGBTQ+, radical feminist, and child-free groups should be recognized as "extremist."

"LGBT ideology, radical feminism and child-free movements should be recognized as extremism — an extremist ideology," said Andrei Tsyganov, chairman of a commission for the protection of children at the Roskomnadzor communications regulator, The Moscow Times reported in September.

"President Vladimir Putin's socially conservative government has launched a widespread crackdown on liberal and progressive movements over the last decade in what authorities claim is an effort to reverse Russia's population decline and preserve traditional values," the Moscow Times wrote. "Russia's sweeping 2013 gay propaganda ban has drawn widespread criticism from human rights organizations in Russia and abroad."

But in the United States, support for LGBTQ rights continues to grow. In a report released last February, Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) concluded: "More than three in four Americans (76%) favor laws that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodation. Less than one in five Americans (19%) oppose nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Americans. Around one-third of Americans strongly favor nondiscrimination protections (34%), compared to less than one in ten who strongly oppose them (6%)."

"It really is impressive that we're seeing not just (overall) support but high support among groups where you wouldn't normally expect it," said Natalie Jackson, PRRI's director of research, as reported by U.S. news.com.

"For example, 51% of Republicans now back same-sex marriage, up dramatically from 31% of GOPers who felt that way a decade ago in PRRI's surveys. Support for LGBT nondiscrimination laws are highest among liberals, Democrats and younger people, but the increase in support has come mainly from Americans of color and white mainline Protestants, the report found."