A new advertisement for a referendum regarding a constitutional change in Russia is emphatically opposed to same-sex marriage. "Which Russia would you choose?" says a voice over referring to the gay couple. ‘’Decide the future of the country. Vote for the amendments.” In the beginning of the ad, you can see how a boy happily waits to be picked up by his adoptive parents. When the first father walks in, he smiles. However, his facial expression changes when he realizes that he is being adopted by a gay couple.
The advertisement comes from the media group Patriot. The group is linked to Yevgeni Prigozjin, a businessman associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is therefore no coincidence that the advertisement is campaigning emphatically before the constitutional amendment. That would make it possible for Putin to be re-elected as President of Russia, something that is not allowed under the current constitution.
Another part of the constitutional amendment is same-sex marriage. This will become - if adopted – explicitly prohibited. Marriage can then only be occur between a man and a woman. In a tweet, opposition leader Alexej Navalny criticizes the video: "Putin's officials have gone completely insane when it comes to the topic of homosexuality."
According to the Moscow Times, the head of Patriot said in a statement that the video is not intended to "campaign against homosexuals," but to "protect the institution of the family as a union between man and woman." According to the online newspaper, he added that he is against adoption by gay couples.
The current advertising campaign is yet another step in the Russian government's anti-gay policy since Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012. For example, a law came into force in 2013 that prohibits “public promotion of homosexuality”.