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Russia Levies Charges Against LGBT Internet Support Group For 'Gay Propaganda'

Russia's persecution of LGBT citizens is spreading from the streets to cyberspace as the Russian government starts cracking down on LGBT affiliated websites reports Buzzfeed. The government has its eyes set on Children 404, a group page hosted on Facebook doppelgänger Vkontakte where LGBT Russian teens can discuss their sexuality with others and without fear of retaliation.

Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, commonly known by it's alternate name Roskomnadzor, is pressing charges against Children 404 founder and journalist Elena Klimova. A local branch of the agency is revealing the full charges levied against Klimova on Tuesday. Under the existing law Klimova's group can incur a fine of one million rubles ($21,000), and find itself forcibly shut down for 90 days.

Picture 2Modeled after America's "It Gets Better" campaign, the group came to fruition shortly before Russia passed its anti-gay laws last year. Users, which are mostly teenagers, share their stories on the site and have the opportunity to interact with up to 15 volunteer psychologists that offer professional counseling services. The name "Children 404” is a reference to the “Page Not Found,” error which is a commonly encountered server error.

Roskomnadzor only specified that they pursued the group after receiving 150 online complaints about the group. Klimova expressed her frustration with the agency's profiling of her and the website.

Said Klimova:

“Roskomnadzor says that it’s found homosexual propaganda, but instead of showing where I have forbidden materials, they’re writing that I just don’t have the special knowledge to publish them. It’s absurd!”

Anti-gay activists have targeted the group before including disrupting the filming of a documentary centered on the group with protests. Moscow prosecutors even went so far as to summon the directors of the film for questioning. A screening of the film in Vladivostok sparked controversy in September when minors managed to attend the film--the movie carries a rating of +18.


Russian Police Arrest Activists at Moscow Gay Pride Rally: VIDEO

Moscow

At least six people were arrested at two gay pride rallies in Moscow on Saturday.

Writes Evgeny Feldman at Mashable:

On Saturday, there were about 30 participants in the two rallies, compared with perhaps 60 or 70 last year. One demonstration was held in front of the Moscow mayor's office, a traditional site for such rallies. It was meant to honor Conchita Wurst, a drag performer who won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. Women painted beards on their faces to match Wurst's signature look. A second rally was held in an area dubbed "Hyde Park," which is meant to quarantine free-speech demonstrations. Although authorities had apparently permitted that rally, at least four people were arrested.

Tweets by Feldman below, with photos.

More photos here.

 


Central Station, Moscow's Largest Gay Nightclub, to Reopen in New Location

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Central Station, Moscow's largest gay nightclub which was closed after a string of attacks forced owners to shut it down, is reopening, according to The Calvert Journal:

 The club has moved to the south of the city, near Avtozavodskaya metro station. The decision to close the club, formerly located near Komsomolskaya metro station close to the city centre, came just months after the club’s co-owner Andrei Lishchinsky stepped down as Central Station’s CEO, frustrated that none of the 30 complaints lodged with the Moscow City Police about homophobic attacks on the club had been investigated. The club’s return was announced on its website, accompanied by a statement which read: “The concept of the previous Central Station is not lost and is even more clearly embodied in the new project. The goal is to give everyone what they want.”


Parade Honoring Eurovision Winner Conchita Wurst Blocked in Moscow

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Moscow officials have put the kibosh on a parade planned to honor Eurovision winner and bearded drag performer Conchita Wurst, the Guardian reports:

Citing the risk of violence and the need to "respect morality", Moscow's security department denied an application for the Conchita Wurst March of Bearded Women and Men, which was due to take place on 27 May...

...On Thursday, a representative for Moscow's security department announced that the parade had been rejected.

"We informed them that the event could not take place," Alexei Mayorov explained to Interfax. While the Associated Press reported that there were "concerns [the march] would provoke clashes between gays and their opponents", Mayorov told Interfax that the city's decision rested on their wish to "respect morality in the education of the younger generation".


American Anti-gay Group Cancels Family Conference in Russia over Crimea Tension

KremlinThe World Congress of Families, a virulently anti-gay umbrella organization that includes the American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, and NOM, has announced that it will be suspending its upcoming family summit in Moscow due to travel and logistical concerns related to “the situation in the Ukraine and Crimea.”

Right Wing Watch reports that the Brian Brown and Scott Lively-approved summit came under increased scrutiny after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine earlier this month.

WCF’s press release, however, makes it clear that the group still stands behind Russian president Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on LGBT people.

Wcf logoThe foregoing is not meant to reflect negatively on the Russian people, churches or individuals who have taken a leadership role in the fight to preserve life, marriage, and the natural family at home and as part of the international pro-family movement.

We are proud of the accomplishments of our Russian Partners, and applaud the moves of the Russian people, through their elected representatives, to protect life, the family and the innocence of children. At a time when Western governments are moving backward to a pagan worldview, Russia has taken a leadership role to advance the natural family.

Complicating things further for WCF is the fact that Yelena Mizulina, the architect of Russia’s gay propaganda ban and one of the primary organizers of the summit, was among those sanctioned by President Obama for interfering with Ukrainian sovereignty.   


Gay Rights Activists Attacked at Feminist-Led Rally in Moscow: VIDEO

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Police in Moscow detained approximately 12 men, including one with a machete hidden under his clothes, after they attacked a group of gay activists taking part in a feminist rights rally on Saturday.

QrQueer Russia reports:

LGBT activists Igor Iasine, Nikolay Bayev, Evgeniy Pisemsky, several members of the Moscow Rainbow Association and other participants of the sanctioned rally held rainbow flags and placards against homophobia and sexism.

Police detained armed thugs who made several attacks on the rally participants with rainbow flags. Attackers has knifes, a crowbar and a machete, they threw addle eggs at protesters and tried to burn a placard saying “No church, no kitchen, no state!”.

The rally was held in Moscow from Samotechnaya Square to Suvorov Square and drew about a hundred participants. The rally was held under slogans for women’s rights, anti-discrimination, against domestic violence, for reproductive freedom.

However, shortly after the rally started, the police demanded participants to take the rainbow flags away. But placards with slogans against homophobia were allowed to remain, Grani.ru reports.

Watch video of the attacks, AFTER THE JUMP...

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