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Homophobic crimes against the LGBT+ community have doubled in Russia since the introduction of the country’s “anti-gay propaganda” law.

Under the legislation, any event or act regarded by the Russian authorities as an attempt to promote homosexuality to minors is illegal and punishable by a fine.

The legislation, ruled as a violation of human rights by the European Court, was made law in 2013 and has been used to stop gay pride marches and to detain gay rights activists. The country has seen a huge increase in violent attacks since then, Reuters reports.

The Centre for the Independent Social Research revealed that 200 of the 250 crimes analysed were acts of murder, and that most crimes are under-reported, leaving the LGBT community at risk.

Svetlana Zakharova, a board member of gay rights group Russian LGBT Network, revealed that most perpetrators talk about their crimes as “noble deeds”.

“Offenders have become more aggressive and less fearful. It seems to them that, to some extent, the government supports their actions.”

According to St. Petersburg-based researchers, crimes against LGBT people increased from 18 in 2010 to 65 in 2015.

Homosexuality was a criminal offence until 1993 and was classed as a mental illness until 1999 in the country. Although same-sex relationships are legal, LGBT people feel vulnerable.

The country was also ranked as Europe’s second least LGBT-friendly nation in 2016.

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