The Russian Duma will vote this week on a measure which would ban all public displays of affection between same-sex couples.

The legislation suggests punishments for same-sex couples who are caught kissing or holding hands in public, or those who come out to young people, from 5000 ruble fines to two-week prison sentences.

Russia has been criticised for cracking down on the rights of LGBT people since it passed a law banning the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.

The previous law was signed by President Vladimir Putin in 2013.

This latest law was introduced by Ivan Nikitchuk, a Communist party MP, and will be debated in the Duma this week.

“Homosexuality is a huge threat to every normal person, which can affect children or grandchildren,” he said.

However, the ban would only apply to men, as Nikitchuk told a Russian radio station at the weekend that “women are more reasonable”.

Polina Andrianova, of the St Petersburg LGBT rights organisation Coming Out told BuzzFeed News: “When this draft bill was initiated, it was so incredibly absurd that we were hoping it was going to be one of those initiatives that didn’t get any attention.

“But the fact that it’s scheduled for the first reading is a pretty bad sign.”

Going on, she said the bill, and its debate, could encourage anti-gay violence further.

She said: “It will give more of a green light to people who are willing to discriminate [and] to beat people up.”