Google has been fined by Russia for failing to delete two YouTube videos that were deemed to be LGBTQ+ “propaganda” under the country’s discriminatory LGBTQ+ propaganda law.
According to the Russian News Agency Tass, Google was fined 3 million roubles (around $38,600) by the Moscow Magistrate Court for the offence. The first video is about raising children in same-sex families, while the other depicts the lives of LGBTQ+ people in St. Petersburg.
Russia’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, ordered Google to remove the videos, which the company has refused to do. In the past, the company has been fined billions of roubles by Russia for failing to remove content and information that the state deemed illegal.
President Vladimir Putin signed the repressive federal law prohibiting the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relationships to minors in 2013.
The law has been used to ban LGBTQ+ Pride events and demonstrations and to restrict the positive depiction of LGBTQ people to children in public, on television, in print, and on the internet.
Putin has vowed to never allow marriage equality in Russia
In 2018, the UN Human Rights Committee condemned the law as “ambiguous, disproportionate and discriminatory” and denounced it as “a blanket restriction on legitimate expressions of sexual orientation.”
Last year, Russian legislators further broadened the 2013 law to include a ban on LGBTQ+ public information or activities to all Russians, not just children.
In January, Roskomnadzor announced plans to start banning TV series and movies that include LGBTIQ+ characters or references from streaming services like Netflix, in line with the extended law adopted in December.
Putin, who has been in power for more than 20 years, is a supporter of the conservative and homophobic Russian Orthodox Church and sees LGBTQ+ rights as a representation of “Western” values.
He has previously stated that he will not allow marriage equality to become a reality for as long as he runs the country. The discriminatory laws have caused significant concern for the safety and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community in Russia.