Russia Passes Controversial Law Banning Gender Reassignment Surgery and Changes on Government Documents

The Russian parliament has passed a new law that bans gender reassignment surgery and changes on government documents.

The State Duma approved the bill on Friday, and it now needs approval from the upper house and President Vladimir Putin, which are seen as formalities.

The bill was introduced by Speaker of the Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, who called gender-affirming surgery a "path to the degeneration of the nation" in a telegram post.

The legislation also includes bans on individuals who have undergone gender changes from adopting children and annulling marriages where one party had undergone gender reassignment.

The ban on gender reassignment surgery and changes on government documents has been met with criticism from LGBT rights groups, who say that it will have a serious impact on the health of people denied access to care.

"I think this is an absolutely fascist law, which deprives people of medical care and any basic human rights," said Yan Dvorkin, head of the Center T organisation which provides support for Russian transgender people.

The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov sought to dismiss the concerns, telling reporters in Moscow that some of the issues raised by activists against the bill were "perhaps excessive".

The law marks a further rolling back of civil rights in Russia, following the passage of last year's anti-LGBT propaganda laws.

Under the legislation, any public expression or portrayal of LGBT culture was outlawed in public spaces.

Individuals can be fined up to 400,000 roubles (£5,400) and organisations 5m roubles (£68,500) for "propagandising non-traditional sexual relations".

In recent years, Russia has seen the Orthodox Church and the state enter into an increasingly powerful alliance, with the government pushing the church's conservative social outlook.

President Putin himself has said LGBT lifestyles run counter to traditional Russian values and he has repeatedly railed against trans rights.

The latest attack comes just a day after Russia's internal security service, the FSB, announced that it had arrested a transgender rights activist on charges of treason for supporting Ukraine.

The ban on gender reassignment surgery