Igor Kochetkov comments on the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling that the so-called “anti-gay propaganda law” is discriminatory

Today, on the 20th of June, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the so-called anti-gay propaganda law is discriminatory. It didn’t come as a surprise for us. From the very beginning of this state-sponsored anti-LGBT campaign in 2013 we understood this as we spoke against this legislative change. We openly talked that in Europe, in countries, which value human right and human dignity, it is impossible to consider some people being more worthy than others. From a legal perspective, the discriminatory underpinnings of this legislative change are as clear as the daylight. 

However, the ECHR ruling supports our position. We now have an additional argument in our endless debate with the Russian authorities on the matter of freedom of expression, the freedom that includes LGBT people.

On the other hand, I am worried that the Russian Federation will disregard this decision of the ECHR. We’ve seen this in many other instances. This is yet another crystallizing moment for the Russian authorities. In allows them to choose sides: do they consider themselves a part of the Council of Europe or to them not? I wholeheartedly hope that Russia will choose the European path, the path that acknowledges human dignity and values human rights. I think that today Russia was given yet another chance of getting back to the path that the people had chosen in 1991.