Meet The Four Dutch Citizens Arrested Under Russia’s New Anti-Gay Law

Kris-van-der-veenNews spread quickly shortly after four Dutch citizens were the first foreign citizens to be arrested under Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" ban recently signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Now, the Washington Blade is releasing some more details surrounding the event in question, as well as the individuals themselves. 

It was previously reported that the four were arrested at a summer camp in the city of Murmansk on Sunday. Said arrests took place during a human rights seminar, which included a local LGBT rights organization among others. The four dutch citizens were guests of the seminar and members of the Dutch advocacy group "LGBT Groningen". One of them, Kris van der Veen, president of the organization, was there to give a lecture, as was confirmed recently by the Blade.

The group also explained that the four members were also there to film a documentary on gay life in Russia. Local media reported them interviewing a 17-year-old gay teen before being taken into custody by local authorities. According to reports, the four were scheduled to appear in a Murmansk court on Monday, and were released after being fined 3,000 rubles, which equates to approximately $93 USD. Van der Veen wrote on his Facebook profile, shortly thereafter: "We are still in Murmansk…It is about the documentary, gay propaganda. It is good, but it’s still very vague what’s next." It is not yet known exactly when the four expect to return to the Netherlands. 

While van der Veen and company are the first foreign citizens to be arrested under the new anti-gay propaganda law, they are not the first to be arrested. 40 LGBT activists were previously arrested in St. Petersburg after a demonstration on June 29, and 30 were arrested on May 24 after protesters tried to stage a pride celebration outside of Moscow city hall. LGBT advocates from St. Petersburg are scheduled to go on trial this Thursday. 

Activists such as Harvey Fierstein have already referred to such acts as this as a "declaration of war on homosexuals". Many are subsequently calling for a boycott of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi. While the U.S. State Department and European Union have expressed their disapproval of all Russia's recent anti-gay legislation, it is still unclear whether any action will be taken. 


  1. David From Canada says

    Russia is the biggest country in the world – and has the smallest collective brain. I have this feeling that the rest of the world is getting really fed-up with Russia and Putin, and a big ShitStorm may eventually hit them.
    P.S. Canada is the 2nd biggest country in the world – and we’re MUCH nicer. Yay Canada!!

  2. Onnyjay says

    Fierstein also called for a boycott of Russian vodka. No more Stoli or Standard, boys ‘n’ girls. Lots of LGBT-friendly countries make better stuff anyway. Vladsie is just trying to divert attention from the corruption and malfeasance of his government.

  3. litper says

    DH, true, so-called “ally” Brad Pitt didn’t say anything about this nasty law when he was in Moscow. Please, next time he and his boobless cyborg wife make any comments about LGBT don’t take them seriously!

  4. Joseph says

    If there are no consequences, nothing will change, and the law will be imitated, particularly in other Eastern European countries where Orthodoxy is the state religion. I doubt seriously that a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics would work, however. American athletes have already invested too much time and effort. But a show of support for LGBTS, a waving of the rainbow flag and wearing rainbow insignia prominently before the tv cameras would be a good test of this fascist-style law.

  5. Booka says

    I’m so glad that Joseph gets the real issue here , that so many seem to not understand; that is that the REAL culprit here is the Orthodox church (that has gained enormous power in Russia since Communism died. Putin, is just pandering to them to validate his power grab…so he will give them whatever they want…and they do not like Gays. There isn’t much that can change that scenario, not boycotts (although i will dutifully follow suit…why not?)or external political pressure.Change, real change is going to have to happen within Russia, but, with the current circumstance that remain very difficult…

  6. Moz's says

    @ DH watch as our gay brothers praise Putin and Russia for harboring snowden

    with Greenwald claiming the us should be on its knees and that russia is a better friend of democracy than the US

  7. Bill says

    @MOZ’S: just because they are (in the opinion of some) doing one thing right does not mean they aren’t getting other things way wrong.

    Even Hitler kissed babies (OK, maybe not literally but he did put in time on PR at the start in order to not look so bad while they tightened the screws – that’s why they picked Fuehrer for a title, as it just means leader or guide in German and appears in a number of compound words such as Fuehrerschein for driver’s license and Bergfuehrer for mountain guide).