February 26, 2024

Dostoyevsky, The New LGBT Propaganda


Dostoyevsky, The New LGBT Propaganda
Portrait of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Constantin Shapiro, Wikimedia Commons.

On February 20, Russian online retailer Megamarket, owned by massive financial institution Sberbankconfirmed it had stopped selling over 250 books in connection with a law banning "LGBT Propaganda." Works by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Vladimir Sorokin, Haruki Murakami, and Oscar Wilde are among the removed books.

Journalist Alexander Plyushev, who has been declared a foreign agent by the Russian state, published on his Telegram a list of "Register of Goods with Forbidden Information (LGBT)" that allegedly belonged to Megamarket. Among the banned books were Fyodor Dostoyevsky's "Netochka Nezvanova," Vladimir Sorokin's "The Inheritance," Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray," and Haruki Murakami's "Norwegian Wood." The list also includes Stephen King's "It," "Doctor Sleep," and "The Four Seasons." Plyushev did not reveal how he got this information. 

Megamarket's representatives verified to Kommersant that the list was theirs and that the publications there were banned under the "LGBT Propaganda" law. However, readers reported seeing "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "Norwegian Wood" still available on the retailer's website.

In December 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships," censoring content on the Internet, books, films, and other types of media. Books were pulled off shelves and movies and series were removed from online platforms for containing "LGBT content" before the law was even passed. Consequences for violating the "LGBT Propaganda" law include fines of up to R500,000 ($5,300). 

In November 2023, the Russian Supreme Court declared the "international LGBT social movement" an extremist organization. 

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