Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill punishing people for homosexual "propaganda", an official publication showed Sunday. The law outlaws distributing of information on "non-traditional sexual concepts" to children, describing such actions as attractive, promoting a "distorted understanding of social equality of traditional and non-traditional relations" and being involved in the "unwanted solicitation of information that could provoke interest in such relations."
Those Russians giving children propaganda about homosexuality could be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($152 U.S.). Foreigners could be fined the same amount, held in jail for 15 days and deported. Officials convicted of the offense can be fined up to 50,000 rubles (about $1,500 U.S.), or 500,000 rubles for companies (about $15,000 U.S.). Promoting "non-traditional sex relations" through media or the internet could be fined as much as 100,000 rubles (about $3,000 U.S.), while organizations could face a million ruble fine or a 90-day suspension of activities.
In anticipation of criticism, Putin warned Western countries to mind their own business. Speaking at a press in Finland in June, he said, "Some countries...think that there is no need to protect children from this. We do."
In another controversial step, Putin also signed a bill imposing jail terms and fines on those who offend religious believers, seen as a response to last year's anti-Putin stunt by the punk band Pussy Riot in a Moscow cathedral.