- December 4, 2013
Post submitted by Karim, HRC Global Engagement Intern
Yesterday marked the first time that anyone has been convicted and fined under Russia’s controversial anti-LGBT “propaganda" law. According to The Moscow Times, a court in Arkhangelsk, a city on the banks of the Northern Dvina River, found two LGBT activists, Nikolai Alexeyev, the founder of Moscow Pride, and Yaroslav Yevtushenko, guilty of promoting "non-traditional" relationships to minors and fined each of them 4,000 rubles ($120).
According to GayRussia’s website, the two were arrested on January 11, 2013 after picketing in front of a children’s library while holding banners that said: “Gay propaganda does not exist. People do not become gay, people are born gay.”
The court ruled that the banner constituted propaganda, not information, and that “heightened attention to sexual relationship issues that can deform a child's perception of the role and value of such relationships in life.”
Prior to Tuesday’s ruling, fines had only been imposed under local laws. St. Petersburg enacted its own “gay propaganda law” in March 2012, and other major cities, like Kostroma, Arkhangelsk, and Ryazan, followed suit and adopted similar laws before the federal anti-propaganda law was passed in June of this year.
This is not the first time that Alexeyev has been fined for promoting “gay propaganda.” In May 2012, Alexeyev was fined 5,000 rubles ($150) for violating the St. Petersburg anti-propaganda law after he was arrested for displaying a poster quoting the famous Soviet-era actress, Faina Ranevskaya, which read: “Homosexuality is not a perversion. Perversions are field hockey or ice ballet.”
Since Russia’s anti-LGBT “propaganda" law passed, violence toward the LGBT community has increased in the area. Just in the last month alone, a Moscow gay bar was attacked with poison gas, the Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival in St. Petersburg received multiple bomb threats, and masked gunmen attacked an LGBT rights organization in St. Petersburg. There have also numbers reports of young adults being tortured and killed.
People around the world are speaking out on social media against Russia's heinous anti-LGBT laws. To stand with HRC in our effort to support LGBT equality in Russia, visit loveconquershate.org.