First conviction under Russia's 'gay propaganda' law

Two LGBT activists were convicted and fined on Dec. 3 in a Russian lower court on charges of promoting “non-traditional” relationships. It was the first such conviction under the country’s new “gay propaganda law,” BuzzFeed reported, citing The Moscow Times.

As BuzzFeed reported:

Nikolai Alekseyev (Photo courtesy of Twitter)
Nikolai Alekseev (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Nikolai Alexeyev, the founder of Moscow Pride, and Yaroslav Yevtushenko were each fined 4,000 rubles — or $120 — for holding a banner reading “Gay propaganda doesn’t exist. People don’t become gay, people are born gay” near a library in the northern city of Arkhangelsk. …

The law, strongly supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been criticized across the globe and has led to boycotts of Russian products and campaigns to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Previous “gay propaganda” convictions in Russia have imposed fines for  violations of similar local laws, not the national law passed in June.

Alexeyev said he would appeal the conviction to Russia’s Constitutional Court and, if necessary, to the European Court of Human Rights.

On the same day, the Constitutional Court dismissed Alexeyev’s legal challenge of St. Petersburg’s local “gay propaganda” law. The court said that the law is not discriminatory because it applies to everyone.

Alexeyev is a controversial character among LGBT activists. He has criticized plans for an Olympics boycott as well as Russian LGBT asylum-seekers. In the summer, he weirdly spoke positively about the possibility of re-criminalizing homosexuality in Russia, because it would “make lazy Russian gays fight for their rights.”

For more information, see the full BuzzFeed article, “Leading Russian Gay Activists Fined Under Country’s Federal Anti-LGBT ‘Propaganda Law.’ “

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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