Police found no violations of Russia’s gay propaganda laws in confiscated children’s drawings from a school art exhibition after parents complained that they depicted same-sex couples.
Russia outlawed “homosexual propaganda” among minors in 2013, a move that allowed courts to ban gay pride events and led to a surge in anti-LGBT sentiment. In November, police in Russia’s fourth-largest city of Yekaterinburg seized 17 drawings for inspection into gay propaganda.
The Yekaterinburg branch of the Interior Ministry ruled that there were “no elements of a crime,” Interfax reported Wednesday.
Photographs of the drawings submitted by fifth- to 11th-graders for an art contest marking the International Day of Tolerance divided observers into two camps.
The local news website ura.ru claimed the silhouettes of a female couple, a male couple and a mixed couple portrayed “gays and lesbians.” Some regional authorities had said the accusers saw gay propaganda that “wasn’t there.”
“The pictures reflect human values: friendship, respect, mutual understanding and acceptance of other people’s values and attitudes,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office told ura.ru at the time.
“Some works depict a rainbow,” the spokesperson added. “[It is] a symbol of purity, childhood and friendship, embodying the unity of different nationalities.”