Duma deputy defends tougher liability of foreigners for gay propaganda
A Russian State Duma deputy dismisses criticism of stricter sanctions the Russian law applies to foreigners and people without citizenship for propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors.
"Different rules may be applied to citizens of foreign states if this is provided for by the law," Dmitry Vyatkin of the United Russia party parliamentary group, a deputy head of the Duma committee on constitutional legislation, told Interfax on Friday.
A number of Western media outlets criticizing the law, which took effect recently, pointed out that a foreigner found guilty of spreading such propaganda would be fined 4,000 to 5,000 rubles or arrested for up to 15 days and then deported from Russia.
Russian citizens found guilty of the same offence face only a fine varying from 4,000 to 5,000 rubles.
Hence, critics say the law sanctions Russians and foreigners differently for the same offence.
Vyatkin quoted Article 62 of the Russian Constitution, which stipulates that "foreign citizens and stateless persons shall enjoy rights and bear obligations in the Russian Federation on a par with citizens of the Russian Federation, except in cases envisaged by federal law or by an international treaty of the Russian Federation."
That is, the application of different rules to foreigners is in full compliance with Russian law and is consistent with laws of other countries, he said.
"If federal law has the 'except' clause, then other rules may be applied to foreigners, including deportation or tougher liability measures," Vyatkin said.
Liability born by Russian citizens who commit identical offences is also sometimes different, Vyatkin said. "Say, a fine may be applied in one instance, and the same offence may be punished by an administrative arrest in another instance: this is a routine and appropriate practice," he said.