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Russian feminist arrested and charged with distributing ‘gay propaganda’ after sharing artistic drawings of vaginas

Patrick Kelleher December 2, 2019
Members of the Russia gay community

Members of the Russian gay community and gay rights activists from Europe hold flags during a banned gay rally in Moscow on May 29, 2008. (ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty)

A feminist in Russia has been charged with distributing “gay propaganda” in a criminal case involving pornography.

Yulia Tsvetkova was named as a suspect in a case investigating the distribution of “criminal pornography”. She is being investigated as she runs a social media page called Vagina Monologues, which encourages people to share artistic depictions of vaginas in order to “remove the taboo”.

In Russia, “gay propaganda” is illegal, meaning sharing information about LGBT+ people’s lives can earn a prison sentence. If Tsvetkova is found guilty under the law of sharing information with minors, she could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison or a fine, The Moscow Times reports.

Speaking to OVD-Info recently, Tsvetkova said police approached her at a train station while she was travelling for a business trip and she was subsequently taken in for questioning.

Woman in Russia was allegedly accused of being a ‘lesbian and a sex trainer’ by police.

She said Russian police launched an investigation and searched her apartment and studio.

“Nine officers were walking around examining all the pencils and the children’s scrapbooks,” Tsvetkova said.

“Among other things, they said I was a lesbian and a sex trainer who distributes propaganda. That has no basis in reality.”

Police believe that these drawings are pornographic in nature, and with their help Tsvetkova ‘seduces children’ while working in the youth theater Merak.

Her trial is currently scheduled for December 9 and more than 10,000 people have signed a petition expressing support for Tsvetkova.

“The accusation against the activist is absolutely absurd – there are no signs of pornography in her drawings, her persecution is politically motivated,” the Change.org petition reads.

Tsvetkova has previously faced police attention for her activism.

“The attention of law enforcement agencies was attracted by six drawings depicting women. Each of them illustrates several slogans that begin with the phrase ‘Living women have …’ and end with the words ‘And this is normal!’. Thus, the author of the drawings shows that living women have body hair, fat, menstruation, wrinkles and gray hair, muscles, imperfect skin.

“Police believe that these drawings are pornographic in nature, and with their help Tsvetkova ‘seduces children’ while working in the youth theater Merak.”

This is not the first time Tsvetkova has been targeted over her activism. Earlier this year, a festival she organised was shut down by authorities.

The festival was set to feature a staging of a play called Blue and Pink which explores gender stereotypes. However, authorities banned it for promoting “hatred against men and non-traditional family relations” and for “attempting to illegally hold an LGBT event.”

More: Gay, LGBT, propaganda, Russia, Yulia Tsvetkova

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