SmartravelerThe Federal Government has warned Australians travelling to Russia about recent laws passed banning the promotion of “homosexual propaganda” to minors.

The warning appears on the government’s Smartraveller website, which says it is unclear as yet how the new laws will be applied. It advises caution, particularly outside Moscow and St Petersburg.

“Violence against LGBTI people has been reported, but it is unlikely foreigners will be targeted unless they are engaged in political activism or are otherwise active in support of LGBTI rights. Public displays of affection by LGBTI people may attract disapproval,” the website states.

Fears for the safety of LGBTI foreign tourists in Russia have increased since the recent arrests of a group of Dutch filmmakers in the country shooting a documentary.

Also called into question has been the safety of visitors and participants at next year’s Winter Olympics to be held in the southern Russian city of Sochi. The International Olympic Committee attempted to quell such fears, issuing a statement saying they received “assurances” from the Russian government the laws would not affect those attending or participating in the Games.

The validity of this statement has since come into question, with Russian politician Vitaly Milonov, a key figure in crafting the bill, stating the government does not have the authority to make such an assurance.

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