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Russian Activists Holding 'Gay is Normal' Signs are First Arrested Under New St. Petersburg Law


Two activists holding signs reading "Gay is Normal" were arrested today in St. Petersburg, Russia, in a test of the city's so-called "gay propaganda" law which bars (and imposes fines for) gay groups, gay books and periodicals, LGBT Pride events, and other "promotion" of homosexuality.

The St. Petersburg Times reports:

Alexei Kiselyov and Kirill Nepomnyashy were arrested outside the Palace of Youth Creativity holding signs bearing the words, "Gay is normal," police told Interfax. Police said the pair was conducting so-called one-man pickets — which do not require City Hall approval — meaning that they were not standing together or yelling slogans.

Under a St. Petersburg law that took effect last month, anyone found guilty of promoting homosexuality among minors is to be fined from 5,000 to 500,000 rubles. The law has been condemned by domestic and international human rights advocates and gay activists, and by Western governments.

A hearing scheduled for Friday will decide whether Kiselyov and Nepomnyashy will be fined for their actions.

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  1. Nothing to see here, Atlantis.

    Posted by: endo | Apr 6, 2012 10:04:35 AM

  2. This reminds me of Russia...oh, never mind!

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Apr 6, 2012 10:24:15 AM

  3. Explain to me again, one more time, why Atlantis's tour owner Rich Campbell has his all gay cruise stopping off in St Petersburg . . .

    I wonder if Atlantis will include this picture in their next email advertisement.

    Posted by: Continuum | Apr 6, 2012 10:43:59 AM

  4. And this children is what 70 years of communism and totalitarian oppression will get you. Forcing a population to behave this way or that only worked as long as there was brute force and secret police terror to back it up. Russia missed out on 70 plus years of normal, natural, democratic evolution like Western Europe [MINUS WW2, Nazism, fascism, of course], North America.

    Totalitarianism; leftwing, rightwing...the gift that keeps on giving.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 6, 2012 10:44:27 AM

  5. Pink boxer shorts. Nice touch.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 6, 2012 10:46:54 AM

  6. Way braver than ACT UP. Russian jails aren't a joke.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 6, 2012 11:41:45 AM

  7. I just find it really, really odd that a CITY would have a law like this, not a state (or whatever Russia has) or the national govt. Admittedly I'm naive as hell about Russia--are the cities more like the city-states of Europe in the middle ages or something? Obviously we have city laws & ordinances here, but for something like PROPAGANDA??

    Posted by: jim | Apr 6, 2012 2:53:17 PM

  8. Come on people, it is Russia. It’s not like they had the Greek’s and the Roman as their forefathers. They are descendant of savages that later produced the rule of monstrously cruel Czars, who were overthrown by totalitarians able of genocide of their own people with the excuse of Communism, who –when failed- gave way to the rule of today’s Russian mafia. You can’t change thousands of years of brutality just because they look somehow similar to western people. It won’t happen. Christianity there never stood for any kind of conciliation or mercy and that is normal. The most you can expect is make up to give the illusion of civilization when broadcasting the state controlled news. Or a hole in the head –or being poisoned with polonium 210- if you become a real problem.

    Posted by: SayTheTruth | Apr 6, 2012 5:05:29 PM


    You know when people pretend to be tolerant and reveal themselves as raving bigoted assholes? Your ancestors came to the United States and blessed it with their enlightenment, or did they commit genocide on the native inhabitants and enslave millions of others?

    I cannot stand hypocrites.

    Posted by: GOD | Apr 6, 2012 6:08:18 PM

  10. @ GOD, Sorry to burst your bubble, not American. Anyways, call me when the Russians become civilized to prove me wrong.

    Posted by: SayTheTruth | Apr 6, 2012 6:52:51 PM

  11. In the sixteenth century Spain had the holy office of the Inquisition and General Franco until 1978. Now they have same sex marriage and the Parliamentary system. Having a bad history is no excuse for prejudice; and things can and do progress often more quickly than you would expect so there is always hope. Saying certain people must always be backward is a mistake. It is not helpful.

    Posted by: Keith | Apr 6, 2012 7:05:03 PM

  12. I don't doubt they'll be found guilty under the law, but I wonder about grey areas. If they had held signs that read "Homosexuality has been recorded in over 1500 species", would that still count as propaganda, since it's a fact that can be sourced? What about signs that read "Gay people need to use condoms too"?

    Posted by: Dave | Apr 7, 2012 8:17:50 AM

  13. Two more were arrested today. For simply walking in a square with tape over their mouths and holding signs criticising the law.

    Posted by: Tom in Lazybrook | Apr 7, 2012 3:51:05 PM

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