A disturbing study has found that one in five Russians advocate for ‘eliminating’ LGBTQ people.
The independent poll by Levada Centre reflects the rife homophobia and discrimination against the LGBTQ community in Russia despite homosexuality technically being legal since 1993. However, under propaganda laws, LGBTQ activity is illegal with penalties including imprisonment, fines, torture, and executions.
The NGO has conducted the survey since 1989 to uncover behaviors of people who “deviate from socially acceptable norms” and while the figures are distressing, they also indicate a slight improvement in attitude shifts over the years, with 18% of respondents in favour of ‘liquidating’ LGBTQ citizens, down 3% since 2015. Another 32% believe LGBTQ+ people should be “isolated from society” and “left to deal with their own problems” – down 5% from 2015. Positive shifts over the last five years show a 3% increase from 6% of respondents favour helping the LGBTQ community.
Levada sociologist Karina Pipiya told the Kommersant newspaper that “The stigmatization of socially vulnerable people has decreased over the past 30 years, and norms that require helping and not isolating from them have expanded.”
The results showed similar improved attitudes toward sex workers, HIV-positive people and the homeless. Other groups hated more than the LGBTQ community shows 80% of respondents advocate for the elimination of terrorists, followed by pedophiles at 75%, murderers at 61% and extremists at 44%.
“Besides state support measures, the development of the non-profit sector and the emergence of organizations working to improve the image of vulnerable groups in the eyes of society play an important role,” Pipiya told Kommersant.
Russia has some of the worst rights, treatment, and policies for the LGBTQ community in the world, with many LGBTQ refugees speaking of torture and violent abuse in Chechnya. A Change.org petition indicates that the heinous practices still take place, despite Chechnya’s homophobic leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, denying the allegations.
The Levada survey was conducted among 1,614 respondents in 50 urban and rural regions of Russia between Feb. 20 and Feb. 26.