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September 1, 2014

One of the most renowned lawyers fighting for LGBTI freedom in Russia was attacked by two men in black hoods in Kostroma

A gay rights activist in Russia is speaking out after being attacked by two hooded thugs.

Nikolai Alekseev, a lawyer behind many of the legal fights against the country's anti-gay laws, was targeted early this morning in the city of Kostroma - a city north of Moscow.

At around 6.50am, as he was leaving the platform of the train station when two men in black hoods ran up to him.

June 18, 2014

Gay rights activists suspect ban was repealed is because lawmakers do not want to be 'humiliated' by the European Court of Human Rights

St Petersburg has repealed the ‘gay propaganda’ law.

Lawmakers in the city’s local assembly decided there was no longer a need for a local law now there is a federal ban.

The second largest city in Russia was one of the first to introduce an anti-gay law in 2012.

Vitaly Milonov, who was the co-sponsor of the original homophobic legislation in St Petersburg, introduced the repeal but this does not mean he is supporting LGBTI people.

He said he will continue to fight against ‘gay propaganda’ and seek to criminalize such acts.

May 2, 2014

A Russian lawmaker who believes gay groups should be shut down and anti-gay laws enforced accidentally marched alongside a gay rights protest

Hundreds of LGBTI activists joined the largest protest so far against Russia’s anti-gay laws since they were introduced yesterday (1 May).

With a large rainbow banner reading ‘Love Is Stronger Than Hate’, around 300 protestors marched through the streets of St Petersburg fighting for their rights.

Some held rainbow flags, some carried the pink, blue and purple flag representing bisexuality, and others held posters calling for love, not hate.

The march coincided with a May Day rally, with numerous groups and organizations taking part in the event.

April 4, 2014

Six judges in Kostroma, in western Russia, have ruled the city was wrong to ban a gay rights protest over 'propaganda' fears

In what is being described as the biggest gay rights victory in Russia yet, a ban on Pride was declared illegal today (4 April).

The Presidium of Kostroma Regional Court - the highest court in the region - has ruled two rallies held last year in June protesting against the nationwide ‘gay propaganda’ ban should have been allowed to go ahead.

The six judges heard from gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseev as well as the western Russian’s city local government that banned the event.

February 18, 2014

Constitional Court has agreed to evaluate Russia's gay propaganda bill, the 'last chance' before a fight to get it repealed at the European Court of Human Rights

Russia’s anti-gay federal law is to face scrutiny at the Constitutional Court.

Gay rights activists are hoping judges will rule against the law banning the promotion of homosexuality.

They say they are giving Russian courts the ‘last chance’ to recognize the homophobic legislation is in contradiction of basic human rights given to the LGBTI community.

December 19, 2013

Court has convicted a young LGBT advocate of gay propaganda, the third time this has happened in the federal law's history

A Russian court has found a gay rights activist guilty of gay propaganda, the third time this has happened in the law’s history.

While numerous others have been charged, very few have been convicted in Russia for violating the gay propaganda ban.

Dmitry Isakov, a 24-year-old bank clerk and student, was fined 4,000 rubles ($121, €89) – the minimum for an individual violation.

Back in June he was arrested twice after he tried to get permission from authorities to hold a gay pride march in the Russian city of Kazan.

December 6, 2013

British King of Pop will risk jail and deportation if he possibly goes too far in his message to the LGBT community in Russia

Elton John has vowed to speak out on gay propaganda laws in Russia tonight (6 December).

The British singer will be playing two dates in Russia, in Moscow tonight and the Volga city of Kazan on Saturday.

He said while he will avoid being strongly critical of Putin, he has prepared something ‘meaningful’ to the LGBT community.

The 66-year-old star is the biggest pop star, and only major gay artist, to play in Russia since the ban on gay propaganda was enforced in June.

November 15, 2013

Pundit Arkady Mamontov has warned Russia must protect 'traditional love' or face the consequences

A Russian TV host has caused outrage after he has blamed falling meteorites on LGBTI people.

Arkady Mamontov, a pundit on state channel Rossiya 1, has warned Russia must respect ‘traditional love’ or face the consequences.

He named the Chelyabinsk meteorite, which fell in south-west Russia on 15 February and injured 1,491 people including 311 children, in his warning.

Mamontov was asked on politics show Special Correspondent to discuss new documentary film ‘Litsedei’, translated in English as ‘Hypocrites’.

November 6, 2013

Omar Kuddus asks if LGBTI activism has become dominated by ‘fashions’ and whether a focus on Russia is distracting from the wider struggle for rights

Whilst the world’s and media’s attention is focused on the plight of Russian LGBTIs, we must not forget homosexuality is illegal in 76 countries.

With the Winter Olympics Sochi in 2014 and Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws firmly in place, not a day goes by without some news about the conditions Russian homosexuals face under the heinous anti-gay propaganda laws.

November 6, 2013

While the federal law will still stand, Arkhangelsk is the first region in the entirety of Russia to repeal a ban on 'gay propaganda'

A Russian region has become the first to repeal a law banning ‘gay propaganda’ today (6 November).

Lawmakers in Arkhangelsk, in north Russia, decided there is no longer a need for a local law now there is a federal ban.

The region, known as ‘Archangel’, was the second after Ryazan to implement a local anti-gay law in 2011.

It was before seven others including Saint Petersburg followed in 2012.

In the two years since having a regional ban on gay propaganda, Arkhangelsk only found three activists guilty of disobeying the law.

November 1, 2013

Gay rights activists have accused the Moscow authorities of condoning Adolf Hitler's actions during the Holocaust by banning a peaceful protest

Russia has banned a tribute to the LGBTI victims of Nazi Germany.

On 31 October, the Moscow government refused a group to condemn Adolf Hitler’s actions and honor the 100,000 gay people arrested during World War II.

Gay rights activists have condemned the refusal as ‘surreal’ and ‘absurd’.

Around 20 participants applied to hold a peaceful event in Kudrinskaya Square in Moscow on 5 November.

October 2, 2013

A Russian judiciary court has agreed with an international ruling, a sign they could be forced to in years to come to repeal the federal law

A historic ruling in Russia could be the key to finding an end to the ‘gay propaganda’ laws.

Back in March 2009, gay activist Irina Fet protested against the regional homophobic law in Ryazan.

She held a placard saying ‘Homosexuality - It's Normal’ and ‘I am proud of my homosexuality’ outside schools and libraries.

Arrested, charged and fined 1,500 rubles ($46, €34), Fet was found guilty of informing minors about homosexuality.

While her group Moscow Pride appealed the charge, they lost at a local court.

September 28, 2013

Donations from Swinton and generous people around the world have helped cover the cost of funeral for inspirational gay activist

British actress Tilda Swinton has donated over £1000 ($1603) to the funeral of Russian gay rights activist Alexey Davydov.

The actress, a prominent supporter of gay rights, sent the donation to help cover the cost of Davydov's funeral.

The organisers needed to raise over $2000 (£1247) to cover the cost of the funeral, which they have now surpassed.

Nikolai Alekseev, one of the organisers of Moscow Pride, confirmed they had received the donation from Swinton.

September 27, 2013

Alexey Davydov, 36, has died in hospital after a short life dedicated to LGBT rights

One of Russia’s most prominent LGBT activists, Alexey Davydov, has died at just 36 years old after a prolonged illness.

Davydov passed away at 5.40am local time today (27 September) in the intensive care unit of a Moscow hospital.

Despite his illness, he had worked for LGBT rights to the end. He had been due to protest outside the Sochi Olympics headquarters in Moscow on Tuesday (24 September), a demonstration leading to the arrest of 10 activists.

September 27, 2013

While the federal law will still stand in Arkhangelsk, repealing the law could aid a court battle at the European Court of Human Rights

A Russian region is planning to repeal a law banning ‘gay propaganda’.

Lawmakers in Arkhangelsk, north Russia, have decided there is no longer a need for a local law now there is a federal ban.

The region, known as ‘Archangel’, was the second after Ryazan to implement a local anti-gay law in 2011.

It was before seven others including Saint Petersburg followed in 2012.

In the two years since, Arkhangelsk has only found three activists guilty of disobeying the law.

September 25, 2013

A group of 10 have proved what will happen if gay rights activists dare to defy the protest ban during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games

Ten LGBT activists were arrested at Sochi Olympics HQ in Moscow for daring to defy Russia’s anti-gay laws today (25 September).

The group, led by gay activist Nikolai Alekseev, tried to hold a protest against the ban against public rallies during the Olympic Games in Sochi next year.

According to eyewitness reports, once police seized a poster calling for the end to homophobia in Russia the group were immediately arrested at around 2pm (local time).

September 20, 2013

Vitaly Milonov, author of Russia's law banning 'homosexual propaganda,' arrived with an entourage at yesterday's QueerFest launch verbally and physically abusing attendees

The author of Russia's gay gag law arrived at an LGBT festival yesterday to harass guests and allies.

The homophobic United Russia city parliament deputy Vitaly Milonov reportedly arrived with an entourage of five to six people calling guests 'animals, 'un-Russian' and 'faggots', according to QueerFest organizers,

The Russian lawmaker, who co-sponsored the 'non-traditional relationships' law, previously said a gay activist must die for his 'extremism'.

September 20, 2013

A protest in Moscow next week will go ahead. Permission awaited from officials in Sochi. Kostroma new court decision contradicts previous ‘gay pride bans are unlawful’ ruling

LGBT activists in Russia are to defy a ban and protest at the last inspection by Olympic officials ahead of the Winter Games.

Moscow authorities have ruled the protest on 26 September cannot go ahead.

Campaigners have also applied to protest in Sochi – where the Olympics will be held – and are still awaiting a response from officials there, even though they have passed the official deadline for a reply.

September 20, 2013

A protest in Moscow next week will go ahead. Permission awaited from officials in Sochi. Kostroma new court decision contradicts previous ‘gay pride bans are unlawful’ ruling

LGBT activists in Russia are to defy a ban and protest at the last inspection by Olympic officials ahead of the Winter Games.

Moscow authorities have ruled the protest on 26 September cannot go ahead.

Campaigners have also applied to protest in Sochi – where the Olympics will be held – and are still awaiting a response from officials there, even though they have passed the official deadline for a reply.

September 19, 2013

As men in white coats offer to take her away... Mizulina, a key player in introducing the ‘gay propaganda’ law, admits bid to remove children from Russian gay parents won’t pass

A champion of Russia’s anti-gay laws has admitted a bill designed to take away children from lesbian and gay parents will fail.

State Duma (parliament) Deputy Yelena Mizulina is head of the Family, Women and Children Duma Committee which debated the law today.

But she admitted the probability of it passing is ‘almost zero’.

It came as a small group of protestors, dressed as staff from a mental hospital, protested outside parliament suggesting Mizulina should be incarcerated for her crazy attitudes on LGBT rights.

September 19, 2013

As men in white coats offer to take her away... Mizulina, a key player in introducing the ‘gay propaganda’ law, admits bid to remove children from Russian gay parents won’t pass

A champion of Russia’s anti-gay laws has admitted a bill designed to take away children from lesbian and gay parents will fail.

State Duma (parliament) Deputy Yelena Mizulina is head of the Family, Women and Children Duma Committee which debated the law today.

But she admitted the probability of it passing is ‘almost zero’.

It came as a small group of protestors, dressed as staff from a mental hospital, protested outside parliament suggesting Mizulina should be incarcerated for her crazy attitudes on LGBT rights.

September 19, 2013

The first QueerFest since Russia banned 'homosexual propaganda' will see over 1500 visitors attend the 10 day event to take a stand against gay hate

Risking fines and arrests, the fifth annual international QueerFest launched in St Petersburg today.

Attracting nearly 2000 visitors every year, Russia's 'queer pride and culture festival' comprises seminars, discussions, photo exhibits and concerts to make a statement against homophobia.

It will be the first festival to take place under the country's law banning 'homosexual propaganda' where individuals and organizations can face fines and jail time for promoting LGBT rights.

September 4, 2013

As homophobic attacks continue to rise in the face of the 'gay propaganda' law, the Russian president has said gay people are not discriminated against

President Vladimir Putin has offered to meet with gay rights activists in Russia.

In an effort to show the country is not as homophobic as the rest of the world thinks, he has said LGBT people are not discriminated against.

In case he has forgotten, Putin signed a bill into law banning the propaganda of homosexuality to children in July.

Speaking to Russia’s state Channel 1 television, he said: ‘We have absolutely normal relations, and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here.’

September 2, 2013

A 24-year-old was attacked and arrested by his own parents at a solo protest in July

A gay rights activist is set to become the first person convicted under Russia’s new ‘propaganda’.

While several have been charged and others have been convicted in individual regions, Dmitry Isakov’s legal team has said he could be the first to be convicted and could face a huge fine under the federal ban.

Police in the central Russian city of Kazan filed charges against the 24-year-old over his solo protest earlier this year.