Russia creates censorship body to identify books containing ‘LGBT propaganda’



Russian book publishers have established an expert panel to check books for compliance with Russian legislation, including the repressive “LGBT propaganda” law.

The newly created expert centre, set up by the Russian Book Union, will be able to make recommendations on withdrawing books from publication, state-affiliated newspaper Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

The expert board will include representatives of Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor, the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious organisations, as well as members of historical and legal associations.

Based on the expert board’s recommendations, AST, one of Russia’s largest book publishers, announced Monday that it would suspend sales of Heritage, a novel by acclaimed Russian author Vladimir Sorokin, as well as two novels by US authors, Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin and A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham.

All three titles were banned for “containing information prohibited for distribution”, AST said in a statement.

Prosecution of sexual minorities in Russia has increased dramatically over the past few years, with the “LGBT propaganda” law that has been in effect for the past decade amended in 2022 to apply to audiences of any age, not just children. In 2023, Russia’s Supreme Court officially deemed the “international LGBT movement” an extremist organisation, effectively outlawing queer activism in the country.

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