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Russian LGBTQ activist charged with distributing pornography faces new allegations of ‘gay propaganda’

Source: OVD Info

Law enforcement have filed a new administrative protocol against artist and LGBTQ rights activist Yulia Tsvetkova for “promoting non-traditional sexual relationships among minors” — a violation of Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda law.” Tsvetkova, who is from the Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, is already facing up to six years in prison for the criminal distribution of pornography, over drawings she posted on social media.

According to OVD-Info, the protocol was established because of materials published in an LGBTQ group on the social networking site VKontakte, called “The Last Supper” (“Taynaya vecherya —LGBTKIAPP na-Amure | 18”).   

Tsvetkova explained on Facebook that the new case against her began in January, but the protocol was only just drawn up. She also said that the administrative protocol was issued over a drawing supporting LGBTQ families. The drawing in question shows two women, holding a child in their arms, as well as two men with two little boys standing in front of them, with the words “A family is where there is love. Support LGBT+ families!”

Yulia Tsvetkova has faced pressure from the authorities due to her art and activism for over a year. In June, she was charged with the criminal distribution of pornography over the publication of drawings of vaginas in an art group called the “Vagina Monologues,” which she ran on VKontakte. Tsvetkova was under house arrest from the end of November 2019 until March 16, 2020.

In December 2019, Tsvetkova was fined 50,000 rubles (approximately $728) under Russia’s “gay propaganda law.” She was also called in for questioning because of her drawings on the theme of body positivity, which law enforcement considered pornography.

A number of Russia’s high-profile public figures have spoken out in Tsvetkova’s defense, including writer Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, journalist Vladimir Pozner, television host Ksenia Sobchak, actress Renata Litvinova, and actors Maxim Matveyev and Evgeny Stychkin.