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Russian LGBT teen advocate charged under anti-gay propaganda law

Friday, January 31, 2014

NIZHNY TAGIL, Russia — A freelance Russia journalist was charged Friday for violating the country’s anti-gay propaganda law for creating a online LGBT teen support group on Russian social media website VKontakte (vk.com).

Elena Klimova

Elena Klimova

Elena Klimova, the founder and administrator of the vk.com group “Children 404,” was initially questioned by Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs investigators on Jan. 17, after a complaint was filed by Vitaly Milonov, an anti-gay St. Petersburg lawmaker.

The name of her group is a play on the Internet universal protocol “Error 404, Page Not Found,” inferring that LGBT Russian youth are unable to be visible. (Klimova maintains a “Children 404″ page on Facebook as well.)

A spokesperson for the Russian Interior Ministry Friday evening confirmed that Klimova was charged after creating the group “that promotes non-traditional sexual relations among minors, expressed in the dissemination of information aimed at developing non-traditional sexual concepts in minors, attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relationships, distorted notions of social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations.”

According to the Interior Ministry spokesperson, its investigator found the VK page it to be a violation of the federal law which prohibits “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations,” also referred to as the anti-gay propaganda law.

In an e-mail statement, Klimova said she is “not surprised” by the charges, “in light of general trends in the country.”

“But it is very sad that letters from LGBT teenagers themselves are called ‘homosexual propaganda among minors,’” she wrote. “It is absurd! Milonov, the complaint initiator, has two demands: to fine me and to close the group. If it will be closed, LGBT teenagers will lose the only place where they can openly speak about themselves and receive advice they need to live. It will be a catastrophe.”

Klimova established the online community in March of 2013. She said the project was created after she published an article about LGBT teenagers’ problems and began receiving messages from teen teenagers on her personal VK page.

On the “Children 404″ page, LGBT teens share personal stories, and converse about their problems. Often, they write about about bullying by peers and misunderstanding by parents. To date, more than one thousand letters have been published.

“At least every third LGBT teenager in Russia thought about suicide, and at least every fifth tried to commit suicide at least once,” said Klimova. “As reason for suicidal thoughts, teenagers name internal homophobia, physical and psychological abuse (including outing) from relatives and acquaintances.”

“Most often suicidal thoughts arise if a teenager is lonely and has nobody to talk to and to trust. On the contrary, those with reliable friends or accepting parents almost never think about suicide,” she said.

Although the case was investigated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Criminal Investigation Department, Russian officials told LGBTQ Nation that an administrative offense versus a criminal complaint was charged.

Officials added that Klimova will be scheduled to be in court for a hearing on the matter within the next 30 days.

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51 more reader comments:

  1. How convenient it must be for the Russian government to not have something silly like “freedom of speech” ingrained in their legal system

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:12am
  2. “Gay propaganda” Lol, its like they think were gonna recruit their kids. The bunch of dumb asses, we don’t want your kids! We just want to live our life our own way without disruption, just like the homophobes out there.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:16am
  3. We will fight for her rights, believe me

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:16am
  4. What if I join the site from the US and made an LGBT support page what the fuck are the gonna do

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:19am
  5. lol the new cold war…for basic the human right to love another person…

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:23am
  6. Can’t put into words, my distaste for Putin.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:25am
  7. I agree, Putin it all into words is quite difficult

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:40am
  8. On a serious note, I totally agree. He seems determined to socially regress the country by about 100 years.

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:42am
  9. We need to be Putin him in prison.

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 6:39am
  10. No time for Stalin. Are you gonna be Lenin us a hand? We've been Maocontent with him since he came in office.

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 6:40am
  11. You're so punny.

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 6:46am
  12. lol Luna

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 7:53pm
  13. Russia is one legislative action from mirroring Nazi Germany. Ww3 may be refreshingly black and white. Hopefully it never comes.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:27am
  14. Vladimir Putin has much bigger problems than his own closet issues.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:44am
  15. BOOO, idiots :( those poor teens…

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:58am
  16. Putin seems to have the belief that Gay = pedophile. The man is just a plain idiot.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:00am
  17. ffs….

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:01am
  18. Sick bigots!

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:05am
  19. Evil exists in the world…one of it’s guises is homophobia.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:08am
  20. She is strong and brave and I hope she can continue to help other young people.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:14am
  21. shame on all the countries and sportspeople for attending Olympics in Rusiia

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:17am
  22. Death to Putin. It’s the best way to start.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:33am
  23. stay strong girlfriend wish I could help you

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:49am
  24. She broke their law. Sorry, as much as I disagree with it. Not our problem.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:06am
  25. Violations of human rights and oppression of minorities in any country are our concern. When we ignore injustice people suffer, remember what happened in Germany during World War 2?

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:27am
  26. Wrong. She was not charged for being Gay, she was charged for being an "advocate." Again, a violation of the law. Not our problem.

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:29am
  27. Even if that law is incredibly unjust, and an obvious violation of the free speech so readily offered in other countries? Pro-gay websites don't hurt anyone. Your moral compass appears to be broken.

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:46am
  28. Sorry, but Russell, who're you to tell them what their rights should be? The US Constitution is not worldwide. We have no right to force our Constitution onto them.

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:49am
  29. Alex, you want to make us stand by and let Putin do what he wants? We DON'T owe him any respect! The 1st world has been trying to put an end to human rights abuses like those of the Kremlin, and it's attitudes like yours that just get in the way!

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 5:05am
  30. putin the antichrist.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:25am
  31. fight back!

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:40am
  32. This is exactly what will happen if the current Internet bills like SOPA and PIPA pass. But it’ll be corporate censorship.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:54am
  33. While its their law, things like this were fueled by american evangelists, if there were LGBT people only in russia and in limited amounts in other parts of the world, things would be different, but because its a sizeable population of people worldwide, things like this affect EVERYONE and further reinforces the right wing agenda to feel they have the right to control other people.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:57am
  34. :(

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 3:26am
  35. Where are the UN and the allied forces? Where are the sanctions against Russia? If it was any other minority group being treated this way, the world would be outraged?!

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 3:41am
  36. Lily lamb. Let’s clean up the states first.
    There’s plenty of hatred right here.
    as far as Olympians….they worked real hard all of their lives. Some are gay. Maybe their appearance in Russia will Help their cause

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 3:49am
  37. :(

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 4:11am
  38. :c

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 4:51am
  39. That is so unfortunate :(

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 5:20am
  40. Putin is a criminal against humanity, he deserves to be hanged

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 5:32am
  41. All you Americans make me puke with your sanctimonious crap, when you have full equality & equal civil rights for all lgbt citizens in the USA then maybe you can comment on Russia

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 8:57am
  42. watch the Russian anti gay movement collapse once there is a uprising within the ones against it.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 10:02am
  43. Fuck Russia.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:15pm
  44. God damn it what can we seriously do for them

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:54pm
  45. Remember remember the 5th of November

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 5:31pm
  46. Being gay is a matter of genetics, not choice–and celibacy should not be their only sexual option–and in much of the world they sure need some support. Russia is still barbaric.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 9:17pm
  47. Dictators never end they just become crooked elected Heads of State!

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 9:33pm
  48. Lets ALL BOYCOTT WINTER OLYMPICS but force the MEDIAS of the world toshow the unjustice in Russia while the world eyes on on them

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 9:57pm
  49. we invited you to visit our page
    https://www.facebook.com/gayhuman?ref=settings

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 11:05pm
  50. Fuck the Russkies

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 11:40pm
  51. The government, that is. Not the people who don’t vote for Putin and his comraderie of assholes.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 11:40pm