A Ukrainian media research team reported in November that it had analyzed some 83,000 social media posts to find out how Russian propaganda manipulates topics related to the LGBTQ community. According to the Detector Media report:
November 18, 2022 In light of the current full-scale war waged by Russia against Ukraine, Detector Media systematically analyses Russian disinformation in Ukrainian and Russian social media segments and has noticed an increase in the number of references and manipulations related to LGBTIQ+ topics (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, etc.) The increase concerns manipulations regarding LGBTIQ+ people serving in the Ukrainian army, the statement that Ukraine is destined for defeat because homosexuals rule it, etc. Detector Media analyzed Ukrainian and Russian social media segments to find out in what context pro-Russian users mentioned LGBTIQ+ people and what messages about them were spread the most often.
The conclusion to the report observes:
By spreading LGBTIQ+ disinformation in Ukraine, Russian propaganda seeks to discredit Western states, their policies, and international associations. In particular, the EU and NATO. Using homophobia as a lever, propagandists spread disinformation that humiliates representatives of the LGBTIQ+ community; devalues their role in society; stigmatizes such people based solely on sexual orientation. Often in disinformation cases, propagandists would call a person, for example, a high-ranking official, gay in an attempt to ridicule and portray him as incompetent. This is intended to undermine his reputation. In such cases, “gay” is not only a word that denotes a man’s homosexual orientation but also implies weakness and inferiority. Similarly, this tactic works to undermine not only specific individuals — country leaders, etc., but also Western governments or large international organizations. Consequently, Russia uses the negative attitude towards LGBTIQ+ people, particularly in Russian society, to create the impression that the West is in a state of decay, which might lead to humanity’s end, or at the very least, the destruction of the traditional family institution. The Russian government needs this itopolarize society and undermine the authority of Western governments, claiming they cannot effectively govern the countries due to their support for LGBTIQ+ rights. The NATO army becomes weak, unable to repel an aggressor because it has so many LGBTIQ+ people.
Read the full report here.
The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported last month that President Vladimir Putin had signed into law the bill that expands a ban on so-called LGBTQ “propaganda” in Russia. GIOR first reported on the new legislation in early November 20222 when Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev told a Duma hearing that passing the law would be part of Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.
Putin has long been known for his desire to become the ideological center of a Global National Conservative (GNCA) alliance described in a GIOR report as follows:
Russian President PUTIN has expressed an interest in Russia becoming the ideological center of a new global conservative alliance, and European far-right leaders have taken pro-Russian positions based on a similar ideology. Hungary is at the center of a developing alliance between European far-right nationalists and American conservatives that Russia could potentially exploit for use in information warfare. This alliance operates under the rubric of “National Conservatism,” centered on national sovereignty, cultural identity, and opposition to global institutions and representing a potentially radical change for the US conservative movement away from long-held Reagan-era philosophies.
Read the full report here.
GIOR reported in late October that Putin had once again delivered a speech in which he extensively referenced so-called “culture war” themes commonly espoused by rightwing/conservative Western elements. In his remarks, Putin referred to “strange, in my opinion, newfangled trends like dozens of genders and gay pride parades.”
Opposition to “gender ideology” is a central issue for the GNCA, and GIOR has also reported on the role played by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC), a Hungarian education facility supported by the Orban government, in disseminating Russian-style anti-LGBTQ propaganda. We have also reported on the new Italian far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the anti-gay positions of her and her coalition partners.