The de facto leader in Crimea has said that its people “do not need” members of the LGBT community.
On September 2, senior official Sergei Aksyonov said during a meeting of its government that LGBT people “have no chance” in the Crimean Federal District, which was known as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea until Russia annexed it from the Ukraine.
According to the Guardian, Russian news sources Itar-Tass and Interfax reported that if any attempt is made at holding a public LGBT gathering, “our police and self-defence forces will react immediately and in three minutes will explain to them what kind of sexual orientation they should stick to.”
He also said that children in Crimea should be raised with a “positive attitude to family and traditional values.”
Earlier in 2014, a march had been planned for April 22-23, but authorities in Sevastopol canceled it on the grounds that such festivities are in violation of Russia’s ban on gay propaganda. It was the first time Crimea had been subjected to Russia’s anti-LGBT laws.
Although 97 percent of the main populace in Crimea voted in favor of seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia, the issue was much more polarizing among LGBT citizens. The deciding referendum was later declared fraudulent by the European Union and the United States.
Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg who helped write its anti-gay law, has since called for additional steps to be taken in order to eliminate “sodomy.” His suggestions have included coming down even harder on LGBT clubs and organizations, establishing a “morality police,” and enacting restrictions on LGBT-related online social media.
In May 2014, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported concerns that LGBT Ukrainians are getting caught in the crossfire of the conflict with Russia. The likelihood of war between the two countries is only continuing to grow, and groups on both sides of the conflict are targeting them for persecution.