2020-07-02 12:39:00

Duma's Tolstoy sees demonstration of LGBT flags on embassy buildings in Moscow as attempt to influence voting on constitutional amendments

Moscow, July 2, Interfax - Russian State Duma Deputy Speaker and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Vice President in respect of Russia Pyotr Tolstoy has urged the Duma ad hoc commission investigating interference in Russia's internal affairs to legally assess the demonstration of LGBT flags on the buildings of the United States and United Kingdom diplomatic missions in Moscow.

"I am asking you to consider these circumstances within the commission's purview in order to issue its legal judgment and propose relevant methods of response to an attempt to put pressure on the people's free will during the national voting on the amendment to the Constitution," Tolstoy said in his letter to the commission's head, Vasily Piskaryov, whose text became available to Interfax.

Tolstoy also suggested that the commission might propose that "the Foreign Ministry forward a note of protest."

The demonstration of "rainbow flags" that "symbolize the LGBT community" on the buildings of the U.S. and UK embassies in Moscow on June 25 and 27 "was politically motivated," he said.

Tolstoy also asked the commission to assess statements from members of the diplomatic missions of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, whose authors "have called on the Russian government to remain committed to the protection of the rights of all citizens, including LGBT," and expressed their concerns about the status of sexual minorities in Russia after the adoption of the constitutional amendments.

"I believe such statements, as well as the demonstration of the said symbols, [...] are unacceptable as ones going against the law and denying traditional family values," he said.

In commenting on his appeal, Tolstoy told journalists, "The borderline between good and evil, between the understanding of what is good and what is bad, is being eroded."

"We won't allow interference in our country's internal affairs, we are against foreign values, rules of behavior, and rules of the game being imposed on us, and we are against the violation of our laws. And we will firmly defend our right to sovereignty in making decisions!" he said.

"All Russian citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation, already enjoy equal rights," he said.

Tolstoy is the author of a constitutional amendment on the protection of traditional family values.