Vladimir Putin allies release sickeningly homophobic campaign ad attacking gay parents to manipulate voters
Allies of Vladimir Putin have produced an appalling new advert aiming to stoke homophobic sentiment in the country in order to manipulate voters.
Patriot Media Group, a pro-Kremlin propaganda group run by allies of the Russian president, produced the ad featuring an orphan being adopted by two dads.
The fictional boy is seen to be distraught about his lack of a new mother, before being presented with a dress to wear by his make-up wearing new dad.
The attempt to foster homophobic sentiment comes ahead of a national vote on constitutional reforms in Russia on July 1, with the ad concluding: “Decide the future of the country. Vote for the amendments to the constitution.”
This video is going viral in Russia today.
The clip warns Russians that if they don’t vote to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, gay couples will start adopting children in Russia. pic.twitter.com/TDuZkq16ue
— Coda Story (@CodaStory) June 2, 2020
Vladimir Putin could become ‘president for life’ if vote passes.
The measures up for a public vote include a passage that would define “the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman”.
However, gay weddings and same-sex adoptions are already banned in Russia, making the move largely symbolic.
Critics have suggested that the true motive behind holding the constitutional vote is a proposed measure to reset the clock on presidential term limits – potentially allowing the 67-year-old leader to stay in power until 2036, rather than leave office when his current term ends in 2024.
According to Radio Free Europe, the amendments can only be approved altogether or not at all – meaning that voters heading to the polls out of a homophobic fervour will be handily guaranteeing the president another decade in power.
Incredibly, it is not the first time Putin’s allies have resorted to the same ploy, with a similar ad in 2018 warning that men might become gay if they don’t vote in the presidential election.
Opposition politician Alexei Navalny is among critics of the advert, which has spread widely online. According to The Moscow Times, he said: “Putin’s officials have gone completely out of their minds on the subject of homosexuality.”
Nikolai Stolyarchuk, the head of Patriot, claimed that the advert is “not campaigning against homosexuals” but “defending the institute of family as a union of a man and a woman”, the newspaper reports.
Patriot’s board is headed by pro-Putin businessman Yevgeny Prigozhinm, known as ‘Putin’s chef’ over his business ties to the Russian President.
Prigozhin and his businesses are subject to sanctions by the US over his alleged meddling in the country’s elections.
LGBT+ people have faced persecution under Putin’s ‘gay propaganda’ law.
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Putin has long enabled efforts to oppress LGBT+ people in Russia.
With the support of the country’s anti-LGBT+ Orthodox Church, the leader imposed a law outlawing “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” among minors in 2013.
Human rights monitors say the law has been used to clamp down on the freedom of expression of LGBT+ people, and fuelled a rise in homophobic rhetoric in the country.
In 2017, the European Court of Human Rights found that the law is discriminatory. The judges wrote: “By adopting such laws, the authorities reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia, which was incompatible with the values of a democratic society.”