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Do Russian anti-gay laws apply on ships docked there?


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Hi everyone,

 

I really want to take a Scandinavian cruise next summer, but all the ones I'm interested in include stops in Russia. I'm a little nervous about this because I'll be traveling with my girlfriend and I don't want to get thrown in jail because of their anti-gay laws. I'm fine either censoring myself on land in Russia or just not getting off the ship there so that I can enjoy the rest of the cruise. However, I'm not sure whether Russian laws would still apply inside the ship while it's docked there. If I could potentially get put in jail in Russia just for being myself while on the ship, then it's not worth the trip. Does anybody know which country's laws apply on the ship when it's at a port?

 

Thanks so much!

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You will be perfectly fine on the ship, and in fact, as long as you do not show public displays of affection, you will be fine ashore. St. Petersburg is a beautiful City and should not be missed. I am not, however, very happy with Pres. Putin and would not spend much money in his Country.

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From our experience on a baltic cruise last june (right after the new law had been passed and in the middle of all the media attention) we had no issues as a gay couple in St. Petersburg. I hope you enjoy your trip. You should be completely fine in the main tourist areas, and, of course can relax completely on your ship! :)

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Does anybody know which country's laws apply on the ship when it's at a port?
When the ship is docked in a Russian port, local Russian laws apply. But, for one thing, the ship will not suddenly be crawling with trigger-happy Russian police officers. For another thing, why do you think you would get thrown in in jail? Russian law does not call for all lesbians to be imprisoned, just for being lesbians. Not yet, anyway.
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My wife and I went to China last year (we won the trip!!) and we had no issues! LGBT is illegal there as well, but using caution and being respectful, you should be fine! We registered with the Federal State Department/Embassy before leaving so that gave me added comfort. They also send out alerts to your email if there are any issues US citizens should be aware of. Enjoy your trip!!!! what a great adventure!!!

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I admit I don't know all the details of what is legal and illegal there.
What is illegal is the distribution to minors of "propaganda" in support of "non-traditional sexual relationships". And they don't just mean handing out pamphlets. The law is understood to include saying or displaying or doing anything in the presence of minors that can be considered to convey a message. The authorities can interpret "propaganda" as broadly as they like. This basically means that the gay rights movement in Russia is now illegal, and anti-gay activities are now even more difficult to prevent and prosecute. That is a problem.

 

For a tourist, this means no rainbow flags (even a tiny little pin), no PDAs, no casual discussion of gay issues especially if there are children around (unless of course you want to say bad things about gay people, in which case, discuss away, as loudly as you want). In principle, this applies whether or not you leave the ship in Russia, but as I said above, the Russian authorities will not have much if any presence in public areas on board, and I doubt that enforcing this law and provoking a diplomatic crisis would really be high on their list of priorities anyway.

 

Still, I think that anyone who is at all concerned about gay rights should be aware of this issue when choosing to visit Russia or buy Russian products, etc.

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I'm with Geoherb - do another cruise. Don't take your money to Putin's fascist state. Even if you don't get off the ship, they make money off port fees that are part of your cruise fare.

 

Don't support that horrific government. Many other lovely places to cruise.

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I"m going to Third the "Don't go to Russia". I'm sorry, I'm sure St. Petersburg is lovely. I've heard and read great things but I refuse to put my money in anti-gay propaganda. Norwegian Fjords are wonderful. I would do that cruise over Baltic.

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I"m going to Third the "Don't go to Russia".

 

Fourth, though there are lots of great-looking Princess itineraries that port at St. Petersburg. I know my port fees won't make a real difference; I'll just feel better about myself.

 

But my problem is that I've booked a Tokyo-Tokyo cruise around Japan in 2015 that does put in at some crap-hole Russian port. I'm told there's nothing to see there, so have no temptation to go ashore. And it's just one day out of 18, and honestly, there are no alternative Japanese cruises that would be equivalent. So I'm really torn...

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We just did a cruise that stopped in Leningr...uh, St Petersburg. We had no problem.

 

On the excursion we sat side by side. The excursion leader didn't care.

 

In St Petersburg itself we thought we were seeing gay people everywhere, although we didn't go to a gay establishment.

 

However, I didn't go through the Russian passport check side by side with my partner. Nor did we wear any gay T-shirts or anything.

 

Didn't like the feeling this generated, but there was no point just staying on board. We wanted to see St Petersburg.

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