‘Gays or Putin’: Russia convicts teen of ‘gay propaganda’

A Russian teenage was found guilty this week of “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” and fined 50,000 rubles, the Russian LGBT Network reported.

Maxim Neverov, Russian teenager convicted of "gay propaganda." (Photo courtesy of the Russian LGBT Nework)
Maxim Neverov, Russian teenager convicted of “gay propaganda.” (Photo courtesy of the Russian LGBT Nework)

On August 7, a teenager from Biysk (Altai Krai), Maxim Neverov, was found guilty of “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” and fined 50,000 rubles [about US $750] for publishing pictures in the social network “VKontakte”.

The Commission on Minors and the Protection of Minors’ Rights considered the case, the Russian LGBT Network provided a lawyer for Maxim Neverov. It is highly possible that special attention of the law enforcement agencies was caused by the performance “Gays or Putin” that attracted a lot of public attention this May.

The administrative offence report was filed on July 24, and according to this report Maxim Neverov published on his own page in the social network “some pictures (photos) of young men whose appearance (partly nude body parts) had the characteristics of propaganda of homosexual relations according to the expert opinion”. When the police officer was filing the report, the teenager was not allowed to consult his lawyer, and refused to testify because of that.

Russian LGBT Network logo
Logo of the Russian LGBT Network

Maxim Neverov points to the absurdity of the fact that the proceedings for propaganda among minors were initiated against a minor, but he expected such a decision. Maxim Neverov is 16 years old; he is a schoolchild.

He was one of the organizers of the performance “Gays or Putin”. As a part of this performance, he submitted 12 applications to the city administration to get a permission to organize a public event. As he said himself, the administration refused to issue permissions for all the events – in support of LGBT, against LGBT, in support of Putin, against Putin. However, it was the public event in support of LGBT that got a lot of public attention; the situation was even discussed by the local Duma. In the case materials, there is a document called “To take action”, where it was reported that there was a public outcry in Biysk caused by the decision of Maxim Neverov to organize a parade in support of the LGBT community.

As the lawyer Artem Lapov mentioned, this decision not only violates the right to freedom of expression, there were also numerous procedural violations. For instance, the meeting of the committee was public, but visitors (including the friends of Maxim Neverov) were not allowed to attend it. Video and photo recording were also not allowed. Moreover, the commission did not even prove the fact that the discussed posts in the social networks were posted by Maxim Neverov, and he himself refused to testify. Soon the commission will provide the reasoning in the judgment and the decision on the appeal will be made.

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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, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]


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