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Russian court dismisses case against journalist who founded LGBT teen support group

Saturday, February 22, 2014

NIZHNY TAGIL, Russia — A Russian court on Friday dismissed the case against a freelance journalist who founded an online LGBT teen support group, ruling that it found no evidence that she had been promoting “non-traditional sexual relations.”

Elena Klimova

Elena Klimova

Elena Klimova had been charged for violating the country’s anti-gay propaganda law for creating the “Children 404″ group on Russian social media website VKontakte (vk.com).

The name of Klimova’s group is a reference to the internet 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.)

The online group publishes letters from teens who are exposed to violence and harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, bullying by peers and misunderstanding by parents. To date, more than one thousand letters have been published.

The case against Klimova had been brought after anti-gay St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonow filed a complaint last month alleging that he considered that the letters to be “gay propaganda” that violated Russia’s anti-gay law.

Milonow demanded the closure of the project and fines for Klimova.

In an e-mail statement, Klimova said, “The Court [hearing] went perfectly. The judge listened to me, a lawyer (Maria Kozlovsky), my expert witness (Dmitry Vinokurov, Director, Center for Family Therapy and Counseling) and decided to dismiss the case due to the absence of corpus delicti. Of course, I am very glad, because I expected the worst.”

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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.

“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.

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16 more reader comments:

  1. They seem to be dismissing everything and anything that sheds a bad light on them. Way to make yourself look even more dark and washed out, Russia.

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 5:41pm
  2. progress!

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 5:45pm
  3. Putin is a Nazi and his gang of thugs in public offices as well as civilian supporters are also Nazis!

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 5:49pm
  4. Good and respect to the nth degree to her for creating the group and not giving in!

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 5:50pm
  5. u go girl

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 6:03pm
  6. So worthy wish more people were like her she’s saving lives and making progress.

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 6:55pm
  7. This could well be a landmark…I don’t know the specifics but it seems like she was offering LGBT teens support…so….technically in breach of the anti propaganda laws…and yet the judge dismissed it…interesting and cool.

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 6:56pm
  8. You know damn well that if the eyes of the world were not on Russia right this moment, she would have been convicted.

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 7:18pm
  9. Boycott Russia!

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 8:37pm
  10. Hmmm iam glad for her but i bet its only beacause the whole world is watching

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 10:03pm
  11. Even the homophobic courts couldn’t manage to pin anything on her? Surprised? Not really!

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 10:32pm
  12. At last something positive out of Russia.

    Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 11:41pm
  13. Wishful thinking I’m sure, but it would be awesome if their courts did the very same.

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 1:59am
  14. GOOD

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 2:17am
  15. Inb4 someone appeals the verdict and she’s jailed for 9001 years

    Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 5:24pm