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St. Petersburg activist fined for performance in support of persecuted LGBTQ artist Yulia Tsvetkova

St. Petersburg activist and Red Cross employee Daria Apakhonchich was fined 10,000 rubles ($137) for participating in a performance action in support of persecuted LGBTQ artist and activist Yulia Tsvetkova, reports lawyer Varvara Mikhaylova from the rights organization “Apologia Protesta.”

The performance in support of Tsvetkova, titled “Vulva Ballet,” took place near St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater on July 17. The performers danced while holding cardboard vulvas with the words “I am, and you?”, “My vulva is my vulva”, and “You have pornography between your ears.”

“Activists performed a ‘Vulva Ballet’ in support of Yulia Tsvetkova near the Marinsky Theater”
Dave Frenkel / Twitter

Apakhonchich was arrested on August 4, and issued a protocol for violating the regulations on holding rallies during the performance on July 17. She was taken to court immediately, where she was fined 10,000 rubles ($137). 

Yulia Tsvetkova, who comes from Russia’s Far Eastern City of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, has faced pressure from the authorities over her art and activism for more than a year. She was kept under house arrest from the end of November 2019 until March 16, 2020, in connection with a criminal case on the distribution of pornography that was launched over body positive drawings that she posted in an art group that she ran on the VKontakte.

In June 2020, she was charged with the criminal distribution of pornography over the publication of drawings of vaginas on social media. Tsvetkova has also been issued multiple fines for “promoting non-traditional sexual relationships among minors” (violations of Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law).

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