Moscow, March 31, 2009 ( – Two organisers of Moscow Gay Pride were arrested yesterday by police in Ryazan, a city located 200 km southeast of Moscow


Photo: Nicolas Baev,

Nikolai Baev and Irina Fet were detained in the city centre and charged with “propaganda of homosexuality to minors”, an offence that carries a fine.

The two were later released from custody on the promise that they would appear in Court.

This morning, they appeared in court which adjourned the case for a week for the police papers to be studied.

Nikolai Baev and Irina Fet were part of a group of four activists – including Nikolai Alekseev and a local activist from Ryazan.

They were carrying several banners in the city centre, close to a school and a library when the police made the arrests.

“In many other countries, homosexuality is explained at schools. In Russia it’s different,” Irina Fet said this morning.

The activists aimed to denounce a law on ‘administrative’ offences in force in the Russian region of Ryazan since 2006 that forbids the propaganda of homosexuality to minors.

Ryazan region is one of the regions that compose the Russian Federation – and each region can have its own laws provided none of them breach the Russian Constitution.

It is the only region of Russia which has a law explicitly banning propaganda of homosexuality.

The activists claim that the law against “propaganda of homosexuality to minors”, which forbids any discussion of homosexuality with children, is unconstitutional.

“We came here to denounce a law which is not only homophobic but which is also against the Constitution of this country,” said Nikolai Alekseev.

“This action was a necessary step to appeal the cancellation of this law to the Constitutional Court.

“We are giving a strong signal to other regions as well as federal authorities which plan to follow the same path,” he added.

Last year, the activists managed to obtain from the Ministry of Health the end of the ban on blood donation by gays – a result that is seen as the first success for LGBT rights in Russia since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993.

Their campaign for Freedom of Assembly in Russia has been going on for four years, with 168 banned gay marches appealed to European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.


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