DFAT have just this afternoon updated the travel advice for Russia to reflect the recent changes to Russian legislation. The revised advice is as follows:
Laws banning the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors recently entered into force. It is unclear exactly how these laws will be applied, but the effect is to make the “promotion” to minors of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans relationships illegal in Russia. These laws may affect public expression and assemblies on such issues. A range of penalties apply, including deportation for foreigners.
Homosexuality is legal in Russia, but many Russians are socially conservative. Intolerance towards the LGBTI community is common, particularly beyond Moscow and St Petersburg. Violence against LGBTI people has been reported, but it is unlikely foreigners will be targeted unless they are engaged in political activism or are otherwise active in support of LGBTI rights. Public displays of affection by LGBTI people may attract disapproval.
Officials in the Australian Moscow Embassy are currently seeking advice from Russian officials on the implications of the new laws. DFAT will also, in the next 2-3 weeks, have dedicated information available on the Smart Traveller website to assist LGBTI travellers. A number of other travel advisories on Smart Traveller already provide advice for LGBTI travellers, including those for the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus, Hungary and Mexico.
In the interim, DFAT encourages us to follow our Ambassador to Russia, Paul Myler, on twitter for potential updates on this issue.