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Russian LGBTQ activist and artist Yulia Tsvetkova ends hunger strike

Yulia Tsvetkova, a LGBTQ activist and artist from Russia’s Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, has announced the end of her hunger strike, which began on May 1. 

Tsvetkova, who is facing charges for the criminal distribution of pornography over drawings she posted on social media, went on hunger strike to pressure the authorities to speed up the consideration of her case. 

In a Facebook post published on the activist’s behalf by her mother, Anna Khodyreva, Tsvetkova wrote that she was ending her hunger strike as of May 7, and “looking for a new strategy.”

“For me the first beacon was understanding that my spirit is stronger than my body. The second was when I saw the frightened eyes with which those who see how bad my body is looked at me. My mom, doctors, and defense lawyers asked me to end the hunger strike. And if my hatred of cowardice and meanness is strong, then my love for those who are close to me is stronger still […] Today, I end my hunger strike because this is the right decision (just as it was right to start it).”

The criminal investigation into Yulia Tsvetkova was opened in November 2019. It was launched over a VKontakte group called the “Vagina Monologues,” where she published body-positive drawings. The activist was kept under house arrest until March 2020, at which point she was released on a written undertaking not to leave. State investigators charged her with the criminal distribution of pornography in June 2020. If convicted, Tsvetkova faces up to six years in prison.

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