Head of Russian LGBT group detained for leading an ‘extremist organisation’ — Novaya Gazeta Europe

Head of Russian LGBT group detained for leading an ‘extremist organisation’

Police have raided the home of an LGBT activist in the city of Samara in Russia’s Volga region after opening a case into his involvement with an “extremist organisation”, human rights nonprofit OVD-Info reported on Wednesday.

Artyom Fokin, the president of local LGBT group Irida, was detained and taken in for further questioning after police raided his home, OVD-Info added. Irida was designated a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities in December 2022.

Self-styled Russian “gay basher” Timur Bulatov, who has gained notoriety for his targeted denunciations of Russian queer and feminist activists in recent years, claimed that he had made the complaint about Fokin that had prompted the police action.

Writing on his Telegram channel, Bulatov said that police had seized literature promoting “perversions” and documents detailing Fokin’s “criminal community” and that other members of Irida had been identified and would be subject to investigation.

Others targeted by Bulatov’s denunciations include artist Yulia Tsvetkova, whom he accused of disseminating “LGBT propaganda” over a page she ran on Russian social media platform VK that featured body positive images of women.

However, despite being a vocal supporter of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Bulatov was himself subject to a misdemeanour charge for “discrediting the Russian army” earlier this month.

On 30 November, Russia’s Supreme Court deemed the “international LGBT social movement” an “extremist organisation”, effectively banning it and making any kind of pro-LGBT activity potentially punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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