Saint Petersburg Hub

Founder Of Russian LGBT Teen Support Group Fined For Violating 'Gay Propaganda' Law


The founder of Russia's version of the "It Gets Better" campaign has been fined 50,000 rubles for violating the country's "gay propaganda" law.

Journalist Elena Klimova (above), founder of the Children 440 group on the Russian social network VKontakte, was fined the equivalent of $775, BuzzFeed reports

Klimova launched the group shortly before Russia passed its anti-gay law in 2013. The name Children 404 is a reference to the “Page Not Found” online server error.

Most users who post photos on the site obscure their faces and include the message, "We exist." They also share stories and can interact with volunteer psychologists who offer counseling.

BuzzFeed reports on Thursday's hearing: 

LGBT activists said that Klimova’s lawyer could not attend today’s hearing for medical reasons and she was left without counsel when the judge declined to postpone the proceedings.

“Today the court has violated the article 48 of the Russian Constitution, according to which everyone shall be guaranteed the right to qualified legal assistance,” Maria Kozlovskaya, a lawyer with the Russian LGBT Network, said in a statement. “We are going to challenge this decision at all levels including the European Court on Human Rights.”

View photos from Children 404's Facebook page and watch a trailer for the film about the campaign, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Russian Lawyer Assaulted For Defending Gay Rights Activist - VIDEO

Kirill Kalugin

Vitaly Cherkasov, a Russian human rights lawyer employed to defend a gay rights activist, was attacked after leaving a St. Petersburg court, reports the Moscow Times.

Cherkasov was defending Kirill Kalugin (pictured above), who contested his detention for a one-man demonstration during Russia's Paratroopers Day celebrations on August 2nd. Kalugin was later attacked by a group of paratroopers taking part in the annual holiday for Russian airborne troops.


Chekasov, a member of the Agora human rights group, said a group of men accosted him splashed him with an unidentified "corrosive, smelly liquid" that got on his hands, neck and clothes.

He later identified one of the assailants as Anatoly Artyukh, a conservative activist and aide to anti-gay St. Petersburg politician Vitaly Milonov. Milanov is currently drafting a bill to eradicate a loophole in Russia's same-sex marriage ban after lesbian couple Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova tied the knot earlier this month.

Although Milanov has denied Artyukh’s involvement, he said that "lawyers are scum and mercenaries who work for money" and suggested that Cherkasov and Kalugin should be exiled.

The court ruled that although police had acted legitimately by interrupting Kalugin’s demonstration, his continued detention at the police station was illegal.

Watch a disturbing video of the paratroopers attacking Kalugin, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Protesters Disrupt Gay Rights Demonstration In Russia

The anti-gay protesters attacked the small group of demonstrators who were taking part in an International Coming Out Day march at a park in St. Petersburg this morning.

Reuters reports

The anti-gay demonstrators included several elderly women who chanted Russian Orthodox prayers. "The homophobes broke up the action with the help of the police," said Natalia Tsymbalova, one of the organizers of the gay rights demo.

Another demonstrator called Maria told Reuters that when a pro-gay demonstrator tried to unfurl a rainbow-colored flag, she was manhandled to the ground and the flag torn from her.

A police representative told Reuters that 67 people had been detained. They included both gay rights activists and their opponents.


Approximately 15-20 people took part in the pro-gay march, which had been approved by St. Petersburg city officials. The group of anti-gay protesters numbered at about three times that number. Video from the clash has not yet surfaced but I will post it as soon as it does.

UPDATE: Watch video of the altercations, which includes footage of a pro-gay supporter trying to hold on to the rainbow flag several hooligans attempt to wrestle away from her, AFTER THE JUMP.

(Thanks to KevinVT for the tip)

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Gay Activists Attacked In Russia

Gay rights participants who were taking part in an unapproved pride parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia today were attacked by a group of anti-gay protesters. 14 LGBT activists were arrested as were some of the anti0gay attackers. Russia's most highly visible gay rights advocate Nikolai Alekseyev was one of the jailed but was released soon after.

The AP reports:

Russia"I've seen a lot of things in six years of holding such events in Moscow, but I've never seen such cynicism in St. Petersburg," said Nikolai Alekseyev, Russia's highest profile gay rights activist, who was himself briefly detained.

Activists held their protest beside a monument to city founder Peter the Great, "because Peter the Great founded a city with European values," Yuri Gavrikov, head of the Equality group said Friday. President Dmitry Medvedev has insisted Russians share European values today.

UK Gay News has lots of detailed information on the attacks. The photo to the right captures the moment right gay activist Alexander Sheremete was attacked by an hateful anti-gay protester. Sheremete reportedly suffered head and lips bruises.

Update: I'm reading conflciting reports about those arrested. Pink News reports that none of those arrested have been released.

First State-Approved Gay March Held In Russia Ends In Violence

Russia Radio Free Europe reports: "Local reports say Orthodox Christians and other radicals attempted to forcibly break up Russia's first state-approved gay rights march in St. Petersburg. The report said police arrested at least 10 people and that the march was broken off after 40 minutes due to violence."

Hateful protesters, which reportedly included "old ladies and skinheads," shouted and threw eggs at the gay rights advocates and also, after grabbing the rainbow flag out of the hands of the marchers, proceeded to tear it up.

According to the AFP news agency, despite the violence, participants are looking at the positive side of this: "'the fact that this demonstration was authorised is a step forward for us and for all of democratic Russia,' said Maria Efremenkova, one of the organisers. The group was outnumbered by counter-protesters and were guarded by police."

Earlier this year, gay rights organizers held two successful 10-minute "flash" pride parades in Russia, the first time in years that one such march did not end in violence.

News: Red Apples, Vancouver, Jennifer Hudson, Gayle King

road.jpg Survey: Vancouver now Canada's #1 gay travel destination.

Skyscraperroad.jpg Controversial skyscraper planned for Russian city of Saint Petersburg: "The RMJM submission for the skyscraper that will anchor the complex features a spire that changes colour according to the light."

road.jpg The gays have arrived: "Lavender invasion" hits Russia.

road.jpg Jennifer Hudson, who will be performing at a pre-New Year's Eve party in New York on December 30th, tells HX she's ready for gay icon status: "I think the world of the gay community, and I feel like it’s an honor. The gay community is the hardest community to please, so if they love me, I must be fierce, honey."

road.jpg Great piece on gays in the Arab world from this weekend's NYT magazine: "Politicians, the police, government officials and much of the press are making homosexuality an 'issue': a way to display nationalist bona fides in the face of an encroaching Western sensibility; to reject a creeping globalization that brings with it what is perceived as the worst of the international market culture; to flash religious credentials and placate growing Islamist power. In recent years, there have been arrests, crackdowns and episodes of torture. In Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, as in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates — even in famously open and cosmopolitan Lebanon — the policing of homosexuality has become part of what sometimes seems like a general moral panic."

road.jpg Watching Dreamgirls with Gayle King: one blogger's tale.

road.jpg Over 100 same-sex civil partnership ceremonies have taken place in Northern Ireland since they took effect in December 2005, according to provisional records from the Office of National Statistics in the UK. Over 15,000 have taken place across the UK, says the firm.

Courtneylove_1road.jpg The Queen addresses her subjects from on high.

road.jpg CBS' Cold Case goes Brokeback with gay cop love affair.

road.jpg Scientists discover the "red apple" gene. Researcher: "Apple growers have always known that apple colour is dependant on light – apples grown in darkness or even heavy shade don't turn red when they ripen That made it very likely that the gene we were looking for requires light to be activated. By identifying master genes that were activated by light, Adam was able to pinpoint the gene that controls the formation of anthocyanins in apples, and we found that in green apples this gene is not expressed as much as in red apples."


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