Russia’s first convictions following the ban on LGBT movement 


Russia’s law labeling the “International LGBT community as an extremist organization” officially came into force last month, on the 10th of January 2024. The new ban on the LGBT community states that any LGBTQ+ activism could be seen as a sign of extremism, alongside the individuals within the community who openly express their sexual identity. 

Ramifications of wearing rainbow frog earrings

One of the first victims of the new legislation was Anastasia from Nizhniy Novgorod. She was accused of publicly demonstrating “extremist” symbols of the “International LGBT Movement”. 

Anastasia was at a cafe with her friend when an aggressive man approached her, demanding that she take off her rainbow frog earrings. The video of the scandal became viral on social media platforms. Later, Anastasia was detained by the police and accused of “displaying extremist symbols” in public. 

According to the new ban, symbols, including  rainbows are seen as a sign of “extremism.” However, Anastasia insisted that she doesn’t identify herself as a part of the queer community and knows nothing about its symbolism. 

Anastasia’s lawyer argued that the pride flag has six only colors, while her earrings displayed seven colors. Despite this, the court remained unaffected, and she was sentenced to five days of administrative arrest. 

Displaying the LGBT flag online 

A court in the southern region of Volgograd fined a man known as Artyom P for “displaying the symbols of extremist organization” after he posted a picture of an LGBT pride flag online. Artyom P was ordered to pay a fine of 1,000 rubles. There are many more stories like that coming out every day. For example, there is Inna Mosina, a photographer from Saratov who was also fined by the court for sharing LGBT flag pictures on her account on Instagram. She faced up to 15 days in prison and a fine of  1,500 rubles. 

In the court, Inna Mosina confirmed that she was the author of the pictures, but they were posted three years ago when there wasn’t such a ban. Moreover, she insisted that the posts featuring pride flags on her Instagram are nothing more than “creative solutions” and one of the posts was dedicated to a girl with alopecia. 

Not even Duolingo is safe from investigations 

Duolingo, a worldwide famous language-learning app, is under investigation by Russia’s federal censorship agency, Roskomnadzor for a possible “distribution of LGBT propaganda” in Russia. 

A Siberian human rights organization “Radatel” received complaints from parents about the propaganda of same-sex marriage in the app. According to the parents, the propaganda is predominantly portrayed in the assignments, particularly in statements like “Clara met her wife in a lesbian bar” or “Peter and Max are married”. 

The human rights organization “Radatel” has sent a request to the Roskomnadzor to block the language learning app Duolingo within the Russian Federation. Currently, the app is under investigation by the Russian federal censorship agency. 

In summary, Russia’s recent ban on LGBTQ+ expression is already showing negative effects on individuals’ freedoms, as illustrated by cases such as Anastasia’s and Artyom P’s. Even educational platforms like Duolingo are facing scrutiny. The long-term consequences of the ban are yet to be fully understood, but the early signs indicate potential challenges ahead.

Photo: Igor Russak/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Ali Qurbonmamadov
Ali Qurbonmamadov
As-salamu alaykum! I am an inquisitive Tajik-Afghan writer from the Pamir Mountains. As a first year Communications and Digital Media student interested in journalism, photography, politics, and learning foreign languages.

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