Russian LGBT Club Employees Arrested On ‘Extremism’ Suspicions

If found guilty, the club employees could face up to ten years in jail.

Last November, the Russian Supreme Court declared the “international public LGBT movement” to be an “extremist organization.” With a new law in place, anyone who financially supports or actively participates in an “extremist organization” can be subject to 12 years in prison.

The dangerous repercussions of this draconian law are on full display this week as two employees of a gay club in Orenburg have been arrested on suspicion of being “extremist organization” members. Alexander Klimov, the art director of the club Pose, and Diana Kamilyanova, Pose’s administrator, will remain in custody until May 18. This is the first criminal case of its kind since the law was passed. The court said that the defendants “acted in premeditation with a group of people… who also support the views and activities of the international public association LGBT”.

If found guilty, the club employees could face up to ten years in jail.

This, however, isn’t the first case of Russia’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws at work. Three people have been charged for displaying rainbows in public. Last month, artist and photographer Inna Mosina was charged a fine for Instagram posts featuring rainbow flag. A Volgograd man was charged with a fine for posting a photograph of an LGBTQ+ flag with “displaying the symbols of an extremist organization.” Anastasia Yershova was arrested after being refusing to remove her rainbow earrings in a cafe. Two young Russian women were forced to make a public apology because of a kiss they posted on TikTok.

Police raided Pose earlier this month at the request of a local prosecutor. A local nationalist group called “Russian Community” reportedly accompanied police on the raid. The group posted a statement saying that they confiscated “female stage costume, five female wigs, and fake female breasts” from Pose during the raid.

This isn’t the first time Russian authorities have raided gay spaces in Russia. Raids became more commonplace after the Supreme Court’s harsh(er) anti-LGBTQ+ laws passed last year.

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