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IDAHOT Report 2014: Russian Federation

Russian Federation

Russian LGBT activists and allies in 16 cities took action for the IDAHOT 2014 despite considerable social and legal pressure, attacks and threats from opponents. 15 people were detained on May 17, all of whom are now released (June 4, 2014). Two actions were targeted by neo-nazi groups. No serious injuries occurred this year and local groups underscored the bravery and resistant spirit of LGBT communities in the country.

In most Russian cities rainbow flashmob events (coloured balloon releases) went quite well, with a considerable 150 people showing up in St. Petersburg. However, during or because of the flashmobs the police detained activists from Moscow, Murmansk, Perm and Vladimir. Two people in Moscow, 1 person in Murmansk, 11 people in Perm and 1 person in Vladimir were detained on May 17. They are now all released.

While most events in the 16 cities went without any incidents, 4 of these cities witnessed arrests. The organizer of a Rainbow flashmob event in Murmansk, Violetta Grudina, was detained before the event actually started. She was accused of “propaganda of homosexuality”. The police stated that by publishing information about LGBT events in the social network (Vkontakte), she “committed propaganda of homosexuality among minors”.

Russia, image by St Petersburg Times

Russia, image by St Petersburg Times

On May 17 in Perm, several members of the group LGBT-Perm were also detained. An activist of another LGBT group (Raduzhniy dom), Julia Babintseva, who wasn’t detained on May 17th, was not charged with anything yet, however, she got a call from the police. Moreover, representatives of the police visited her parents. All this situation strangely resembles the situation in Samara, where after the Day of Silence LGBT activists started to get calls and then charges, all happening as a form of systematic intimidation.

The National articulation group, Russian LGBT-Network, provided legal support to Violetta Grudina and Julia Babintseva. The Chairman of the Network, Igor Kochetkov, states that “Solidarity was one of the main messages of the May 17th this year and we are ready to support everyone who suffers because of the unlawful actions of the police”.

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