47 percent of Russians believe the media can turn people gay, a state-owned polling agency says.

Russian polling age VTsIOM said half of those asked believed “media and propaganda” were the “key factors contributing to development of a person’s non-traditional sexual orientation”.

35 percent believed friends influenced sexual orientation, 33 percent believed parents had an effect, the state news agency said.

16 percent said a bad previous relationship with a member of the opposite sex could explain homosexuality.

April’s VTsIOM poll asked 1,600 people in 138 towns and 46 regions of Russia for their view on the causes of homosexuality, calculating a margin of error at 3.4 percent.

Numerous regions across Russia have ‘gay propaganda’ laws banning the promotion of homosexuality or transgender identities among minors, which activists believe silence the public voices of LGBT communities.

Last month, VtsIOM said that while only 6 percent of people polled had seen gay propaganda, 86 percent supported banning it.