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People carry posters denouncing Russia's policies on homosexuality at a parade in Berlin on June 22.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed laws strengthening the penalties for "propagating homosexuality among minors" and for insulting the sensitivities of the religious.

The so-called "antigay" law Putin signed on June 30 introduces fines of up to 200,000 rubles ($6,700) for those found guilty of disseminating propaganda involving "nontraditional sexual relations" to minors through the media or Internet, which may cause a distorted understanding that gay relations and heterosexual relations are socially equivalent.

The addition to the law on freedom of belief and worship imposes fines up to 300,000 rubles ($10,000) for those convicted of "public actions expressing a clear disrespect to a community, committed with the goal of insulting the religious sensitivities of believers."

The law also makes it a crime to interfere with the activities of religious organizations.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax
Police detained scores of people after pro- and antigay activists clashed in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.

The June 29 clashes erupted when up to 100 gay activists took part in a march to protest against a bill banning homosexual "propaganda."

They were confronted by an equal number of antigay protesters, who threw stones and eggs.

The Russian parliament adopted the law two weeks ago. It sets heavy fines for "propaganda for nontraditional sexual relations" to minors.

The bill has yet to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

The violence in St. Petersburg highlights increasing intolerance against gay people in Russian society where 15 percent of about 900 gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender respondents reported attacks in an online survey last year.


Based on reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and RFE/RL's Russian Service

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