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Film festival director fined for violating Russia’s ‘gay propaganda law’


A court in Russia’s Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug has fined the former executive director of the “Dukh Ognya” (Spirit of Fire) film festival, 50,000 rubles ($634) for “promoting non-traditional sexual relationships among minors” — in other words, for violating the so-called “gay propaganda law.” 

The former film festival director, Larisa Zhuravleva, told about the fine herself. Apparently, the court made its ruling back in August, but she only found out about the fine after a bailiff contacted her. 

According to,  the fine is in connection with director Ksenia Ratushnaya’s film “Outlaw,” which was screened at the festival in March. There had been public objections to the screening the film in the region — one it’s main characters is a gay teenager, — prompting state prosecutors to organize an inquiry.

Outlaw (2020) - Final Trailer
HHG Film Company

According to Zhuravleva, she wasn’t responsible for selecting the films aired at the festival. She also underscored that state prosecutors had filed a lawsuit against the regional department of culture for getting Russia’s federal-level Culture Ministry to issue the film a rental license.

The Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug’s Department of Culture said they don’t understand why Zhuravleva has been fined.

According to RFE/RL, the screening of the film “Outlaw” at the Spirit of Fire film festival in Khanty-Mansiysk was an 18+ event. In addition, several scenes were cut from the film. Nevertheless, it received the festival’s top prize and two other awards for music and camera work. Afterwards, the festival organizers were summoned for questioning, said film critic Boris Nelepo, the chairman of the festival’s selection committee. The organizers also faced threats on social media.

“Outlaw” was supposed to be released in Russia on October 29, but now the filmmakers are faced with the fact that many venues are refusing to show their film. A special screening at Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery was cancelled. The city’s October cinema and the President Hotel have also refused to show the film, said director Ksenia Ratushnaya.

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