Authorities in Far East Russia have charged a feminist and LGBT activist with distributing “gay propaganda” days after she was named a suspect in a criminal pornography case, her lawyer told the sibreal.org news website.
Activist Yulia Tsvetkova, 26, initially revealed her status as a suspect in the criminal pornography case late last month without specifying why the case was opened. The charges, if the case involves minors, carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years if found guilty.
“What I know so far is that some information on Yulia’s social media” triggered the new gay propaganda administrative case, sibreal.org quoted Tsvetkova’s lawyer Yakov Pushkaryov as saying Friday.
Tsvetkova’s trial is set for Dec. 9, Pushkaryov told the OVD-Info police-monitoring website. She faces a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($1,500) if found guilty of gay propaganda.
Tsvetkova’s mother told the outlet that authorities opened the gay propaganda case over her involvement in two social media groups on LGBT issues and feminism. One of the groups, called Vagina Monologues, is aimed at erasing taboos around menstruation and the anatomy of the vagina.
More than 10,000 people have signed a change.org petition in support of Tsvetkova.
Tsvetkova previously faced police questioning in March after someone filed an anonymous complaint against her art project on body positivity. The mayor’s office in the Khabarovsk region town of Komsomolsk-on-Amur that month banned a youth theater festival directed by Tsvetkova over alleged LGBT propaganda.
Russia banned "propaganda of homosexuality toward minors" in 2013. Rights activists say homophobic attacks have become more frequent since then, despite polling suggesting that attitudes toward equal rights for LGBT groups have reached their highest level in years.