Russia on Wednesday vowed to defend its “traditional” values against threats from the United States and “gay propaganda” in a document signed by President Vladimir Putin.
The presidential decree, setting out official policy and entering force immediately, stresses the importance of “traditional values as the basis of Russian society”.
It warns that Moscow must take “urgent measures” to ward off threats including terror groups, “certain mass media” and “the United States and other unfriendly foreign countries”.
It also lists internal threats from “the activities of certain organisations and people on Russian soil”.
These foes risk implanting “alien” ideas in Russian society and causing “the destruction of the traditional family unit through propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships,” the decree says, using a phrase referring to LGBTQ relationships.
The Orthodox Church welcomed the document as a way to “preserve our people and protect our children from being defiled,” senior cleric Fyodor Lukyanov told TASS state news agency.
The mission statement comes as Russian lawmakers are pushing through amendments to toughen up a controversial 2013 law banning “gay propaganda” to minors, rewriting it to include adults as well.
Rights campaigners say the new amendments mean, in effect, that any public mention of same-sex couples is being criminalised.
Putin’s new decree also warns that the country’s enemies are distorting “historical truth”.
The former KGB agent has sought to associate his regime with Soviet-era successes and gradually cracked down on the rights and freedoms gained after the breakup of the USSR.