MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – The creator of an online support group for Russian gay teenagers faces a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($2,800) for “gay propaganda,” activists said Friday.
The case against Lena Klimova was opened at the request of Vitaly Milonov, an ultraconservative regional lawmaker who has spearheaded anti-gay legislation in Russia.
Milonov confirmed to RIA Novosti that he requested a check into the Children-404 pro-LGBT group on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte.
The group publishes personal statements by Russian gay teens on their struggle for acceptance and against homophobia in the country’s conservative provinces.
The group, created by Klimova, inveigles teens into questioning their sexuality, Milonov said.
“Without such groups, no kids like that would exist,” said Milonov, who has also campaigned against MTV, modern opers, abortion and the teaching of evolution in schools.
Klimova faces administrative charges in her native Nizhny Tagil, an industrial city in the Urals, she said on her own Vkontakte page.
Police charged her with violating a June law that prohibits “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors,” she said, adding that the trial is expected within a month.
Nizhny Tagil police did not return calls for comment on Friday afternoon.
This is the fifth court case under the “gay propaganda” law, which has caused a furious backlash in the West and prompted some activists to demand a boycott of the Sochi Olympics, according to GayRussia.ru.
The most recent case, in the far eastern Khabarovsk Region, saw the editor-in-chief of a local newspaper fined 50,000 rubles ($1,400) earlier this week for reporting about a local geography teacher claiming to be mistreated for being gay.
The case marked the first time a Russian media outlet has been prosecuted under the “gay propaganda” law, which, Russian officials repeatedly claim, does not constitute discrimination against LGBT people.