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Moscow cops reportedly break up an art exhibit dedicated to LGBT youths

Source: Kommersant

Police have reportedly broken up a Moscow art exhibit, dedicated to LGBT teenagers, titled “Be Yourself.” The exhibit was scheduled to open today, June 12, at the Red Square gallery in the Elekrozavod art space. The organizer, Tarya Polyakova, says police demanded that the gallery’s landlord forbid the exhibit under the threat of terminating its leasing agreement.

“On June 10, police officers came to my mother and asked where they could find me. At the same time, officers came to Elekrozavod, and approached the head security guard, screaming, ‘Where is this exhibit about faggots and pedophila?’” Polyakova said.

Another organizer from the gallery, Igor Yasin, said the exhibit was initially planned to debut on June 1, International Children’s Day. On the last day of May, however, Yasin says the people who had agreed to host the exhibit suddenly renounced the contract.

After two weeks of failed attempts to find another space to host “Be Yourself,” the exhibit’s organizers have now decided to hold it outdoors. “We’re going to hang the photos in some square this Saturday, without any prior announcements,” Yasin said. 

This is an entirely legal, artistic-educational event. We even added an “18-or-older” warning. In other to have viewed this exhibit, someone would have had to come to the gallery himself of his own accord. No passersby could have seen it accidentally. But the authorities want to decide for the citizens what they should see and what they should know about,” Yasin said.


Since 2013, Russia has observed a ban on so-called “gay propaganda” in the presence of minors. One of the people prosecuted under this law is Elena Klimova, the founder of Deti-404 (Children-404), an online support community for Russian LGBT youths. In January 2015, Klimova was convicted of violating this law and fined 50,000 rubles ($900). In March, a higher court overturned this decision.

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