Russian survey: One in five want LGBTQ people ‘eliminated’
A Russian survey in 2020 reported that almost one in five Russians want LGBTQ people “eliminated,” an improvement in attitudes towards the community from 2015.
The survey was conducted by the independent Levada Center, which interviewed a representative sample of 1614 adults in 50 Russian regions this past February 20-26.
The survey asked the respondents what their country should about various groups of people, with choices ranging from “eliminate,” “isolate,” “assist,” “leave alone,” or ‘don’t know.”
Russian survey: Improvement for LGBTQ community
The survey showed that 18 percent of respondents believe LGBTQ people should be “eliminated,” which is down from 21 percent that said the same thing in 2015.
In 1989, this went as high as 35 percent and as low as 15 percent in 1999. This indicative of a slight softening of attitudes in Russia towards the LGBTQ community.
Likewise, 32 percent said that gays and lesbians should be “isolated from society,” which is down from 37 percent in 2015.
“The stigmatization of socially vulnerable people has decreased over the past 30 years, and norms that require helping and not isolating from them have expanded,” Levada sociologist Karina Pipiya told the Kommersant newspaper.
On the upside, positive attitudes towards the LGBTQ community have improved with nine percent of respondents favoring “assisting” them, up from six percent. (However, this assistance isn’t defined.)
Likewise, 32 percent of respondents said the LGBTQ community should be “left alone,” up from 24 percent.
In Russia, homosexuality is technically legal but expressions of LGBTQ identity can be punished with up to three years in prison thanks to the ban on “propaganda” supporting “non-traditional sexual relationships.”
LGBTQ group still worse off than other groups
However, the numbers against the LGBTQ community is still higher as compared to other groups, like the homeless people, people with HIV, alcoholics, the handicapped, beggars, drug addicts, sex workers, and feminists.
The Levada survey showed similar improved attitudes towards sex workers, HIV-positive people, and the homeless.
“Besides state support measures, the development of the non-profit sector and the emergence of organizations working to improve the image of vulnerable groups in the eyes of society play an important role,” Pipiya said.
The only groups that Russians wanted to eliminate more than the LGBTQ community were terrorists, those who molest children, murderers, and extremists.
For terrorists, 80 percent of respondents wanted them ‘eliminated.” Pedophiles had 75 percent, murderers at 61 percent, and extremists at 44 percent.
“The rigid approach toward the need to destroy those who can do harm and even those who don’t contribute to society doesn’t mean that people are ready to take up arms,” political analyst Alexei Makarkin told Kommersant.
Makarkin added: “There’s now a new generation that has fewer [Soviet-era] frustrations. Roughly speaking, these are people who did not stand in queues.”