Rights & Liberties
5 min

Alexeyev, fellow activists detained yet again

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – Gay rights activist Nikolai
Alexeyev is seen vehemently arguing with police officials in Red Square before being taken away by car in a Jan 20 YouTube video posted by Vladimir Ivanov.

A partial translation of the video's caption reads,
"Activists took to the Red Square at midnight under a chiming clock on the
Kremlin's Spassky Tower, when all the children in Russia need to sleep. They
were holding characters in popular children's TV program "Good night,
kids!" . . . Participants of the rally also carried signs "Give a gay
pride parade in Red Square," "propaganda of homosexuality is not
possible" . . . Earlier, the Moscow authorities have banned a gay activist . . . in
Pushkin Square, with reference to the position of the federal law that public
events can not be conducted between 23pm and 7am. Organisers have promised to
appeal the ban by the Constitutional Court of Russia."

Queer activists have been protesting legislation that
calls for the outlawing of "propaganda of homosexuality to minors." Gayrussia.eu
notes that Arkhangelsk and Ryazan are two regions that already outlaw such
"propaganda," and that "St Petersburg and Kostroma, where the
Regional Parliaments have adopted similar laws in preliminary hearings, are the
next to follow."

In St Petersburg, the legislation, introduced by Vladimir
Putin's United Russia Party, passed first reading by 27 votes to 1 and
introduces fines for "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and
transgenderism to minors" and "propaganda of pedophilia." 

Moscow MPs have also expressed interest in drafting similar legislation. "If it continues like that, we expect that by the end of
this year 20 [percent] of Russians, approximately 30 million people, will live
in areas where advocating LGBT rights in the public place will be
illegal," Alexeyev stated on Gay Russia. Alexeyev fears that all these
moves could eventually lead to a federal law
that further criminalizes queer
lives. 

Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993 but has done
nothing to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender
identity.

Earlier this month, Alexeyev, Alexey Kiselev and Kiril
Nepomnyaschiy were arrested in Arkhangelsk as they picketed against the law in
front of the regional children's library. According to Gay Russia, the three
were holding various placards that read, "Russia takes first place in the
world in suicides of adolescents. Among them, a large proportion are
homosexuals," "Children have a right to know by virtue of Article 13 of
the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Great men can also be gay. Gays also
become great. Homosexuality is normal!" and "Homosexuality is a
healthy form of sexuality. Both children and adults should be aware of
that!"

Their arrest on Jan 11 was "the first application of the law prohibiting so-called promotion of homosexuality to minors in the Arkhangelsk region, a month after the ban came into force," Gay Russia reported.

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