Russian toy store chain suspected of gay propaganda
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STAVROPOL, January 15 (RAPSI) – Katyusha, a chain of toy stores in southern Russia, may be charged under the law against homosexual propaganda for selling a game that allegedly requires participants to carry out inappropriate conduct, the local prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.
An inspection of the shops was ordered after an NGO called Parents' Committee of the Stavropol Territory notified the prosecutor's office that one of the Katyusha shops sold “Forfeits,” a game for children aged 12+ years.
Players of the game are required to forfeit an item of clothing, jewelry, or some other personal belonging into a pile on the floor. These are the forfeited items. One person is chosen to be the judge, and another holds the forfeited items over the judge's head, asking what the owner should do to redeem the forfeit.
Parents' Committee lawyer Alexander Dzhambatov told RIA Novosti that players have been ordered to pretend to be same-sex lovers, to seduce one of the other players, or to pretend to play a part in an erotic film.
“This can have a negative effect on the psychosexual development of teenagers. There is a large probability that gender identity disorder may lead to permanent distortion in sexual behavior,” the prosecutor's office cites Dzhambatov as saying.
By the time the inspection began, the game had been removed from the Katyusha shops in Stavropol, Pyatigorsk, Yessentuki and Nevinnomyssk. An employee has been subjected to disciplinary action and shop managers have been warned of the dangers of infringing the law.
Letters have been sent to the prosecutors of Rostov-on-Don, where the business that supplied the game is registered, and Smolensk, where the producer is located. The Katyusha Trading House is a chain of 32 children's shops located in the southern and central federal districts.
The law on homosexual propaganda first entered into force in St. Petersburg in March 2012 and stipulates fines for those who breach the law in the city.
The law was sharply criticized by the LGBT community and rights activists in Russia and abroad. However, the St. Petersburg law was developed into a federal law and passed by the State Duma on June 30, 2013.