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With the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia liberalized laws around LGBT issues, most notably decriminalizing homosexual acts, and allowing transgender individuals to change their gender identity.[1] Recently the government has reversed course by refusing to enforce these laws and enacting new ones that are openly hostile to LGBT individuals.[2]

Issues and Solutions
Research Papers

Issues and Solutions

Issue: Attacks against LGBT individuals have increased and gone unpunished. This aggression leads most LGBT individuals to hide their orientation at work and in society at large.[3]

Our Solution: Reiterate your company’s zero-tolerance for homophobia, transphobia and the unauthorized disclosure of LGBT identification (known or assumed) to anyone. For envisioned transfers to Russia, exercise extra vigilance and offer alternatives to employees who feel uncomfortable with a posting to Russia. Include in everyone’s relocation briefing the legal situation regarding LGBT employees living in Russia. In country do not record sexual orientation gender identity or gender expression.


Issue: New laws in Russia essentially criminalize public support and expression of LGBT equality that can result in fines, suspensions of organizations or jail time and then deportation.[4]

Our Solution: Make sure that sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are protected under your Russian equal opportunity policy. Use internal communication channels to reiterate your support for LGBT inclusion and diversity. Exercise extreme caution when sharing these communications externally.


Issue: Social prejudices lead health care providers to refuse to work with LGBT individuals.

Our Solution: Offer the same benefits to all employees in Russia. Provide partner benefits regardless of gender, marital status or sexuality. Ensure equal access to health care by working with local NGOs, medical groups and LGBT individuals to identify service providers who have track records of working with LGBT patients.


Issue: Recent legal changes, including the new anti-LGBT propaganda law, have rolled back freedoms won by LGBT activists.

Our Solution: See “Relocation and Temporary Work Assignments.” If possible and safe, use private influence with Russian government officials and other opinion leaders to alert them to the negative impact that the new laws are having on your ability to conduct business.


Issue: Russian culture is in general sexually conservative. This creates prejudices against LGBT individuals.[5]

Our Solution: Refer to “Global Non-Discrimination Policies,” and if possible and safe invite straight allies and diversity managers from other like-minded corporations and companies to your internal diversity events


Issue: The anti-propaganda law in Russia has caused heightened tensions in educational systems, leading to schoolteachers being fired or forced to resign because of their sexuality. [6]

Our Solution: Keep treating all employees equally. Although there may be legal or administrative challenges to this, do your best to remove inequalities and send a clear message to all employees that your LGBT employees must be treated with equity and respect. Additionally work with ERGs and allies internally to hold educational events about LGBT issues and promote LGBT equality.

Research Papers

Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Health Care, Education, Employment and Social Security in the Russian Federation

Questions for Corporate Consideration Regarding Russia’s New “Anti-­Propaganda” Law

Executive Briefing – Updated 10.22.13 New Anti-LGBT Laws in Russia: What Should My Company Do?


[1] The Facts on LGBT Rights in Russia. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2014, from

[2] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2014, from

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Adomanis, M. (2013, June 29). Russia’s Crackdown On ‘Gay Propaganda’ And Popular Illiberalism. Forbes Magazine.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2014, from