First Arrests After St. Petersburg’s Gay Ban: Two Russian Activists Holding “Gay Is Normal” Signs

St. Petersburg flexed the muscle of its new anti-gay law for the first time yesterday when two LGBT activists were arrested for holding signs that said “Gay Is Normal.” They weren’t standing together or shouting slogans, but “public promotion of homosexuality” is now illegal in the city,. The men could be subject to a fine of $170–$17,000.

Reports the St. Petersburg Times:

Alexei Kiselyov and Kirill Nepomnyashy were arrested outside the Palace of Youth Creativity holding signs bearing the words, “Gay is normal,” police told Interfax. Police said the pair was conducting so-called one-man pickets — which do not require City Hall approval — meaning that they were not standing together or yelling slogans.

Under a St. Petersburg law that took effect last month, anyone found guilty of promoting homosexuality among minors is to be fined from 5,000 to 500,000 rubles. The law has been condemned by domestic and international human rights advocates and gay activists, and by Western governments.

A hearing to determine whether they will be fined is set for today—we’ll update you when we hear the results.

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  • Houston Bill

    Really, people are getting arrested simply for standing alone in a square holding a sign saying “Gay is Normal”.

    I don’t know about others, but I don’t think a cruise to St Petersburg sounds like a good idea right now.

  • Dallas Ken

    I agree. Atlantis should cancel the St. Petersburg stop. The gay community of St. Petersburg has even asked gay supporters not to go to that city until they repeal this new law.

  • Derek Williams

    This will get a lot worse before it gets any better. These laws enjoy widespread popular support.

    I admire the courage of the two activists, but the only way forward is for the rest of Russian LGBT population, which substantially outnumbers the entire military and all available prison accommodation, to rise up in open defiance.

    Until we find the courage to do this, and for as long as we remain in the closet where they want us to remain, life won’t be worth living in oppressive regimes like this.

  • comus

    Madonna still planning to play in this hell hole?

  • Spike

    OMG, were they passengers on an Atlantis Cruise?!!?

    Been there, done that, on and Atlantis Cruise, if you don’t think you can visit St. Petersburg with going all Ga-hay in the city streets, fucking on your balcony, or screaming I’m here I’m queer and gurl your bambooshka is dirty and so last season, maybe you should stay home.

  • Houston Bill

    Spike, With regards to your question as to if the two persons arrested for simply holding up a sign that says “Gay is Normal” in a public square were passengers on an Atlantis cruise..I don’t think so, as they have their shirts on.

    You are free to continue to support Atlantis’ going to St Petersburg this summer. We’ll continue to criticize them.

    Are going on the cruise, Spike?

  • jason

    The Russians are mentally disturbed. Always have been. Must be due to years of in-breeding.

  • Danny

    Russia died once already and broke apart. It is just repeating old habits and violating human rights until people grow tired of it. Russia is based on corruption and oppression – not the basis for any lasting country. I wouldn’t want to be any politician or religious leader who violated human rights.

  • jason

    You only have to look at the failed experiments of the Russians. Communism, for instance. Millions of Russians were killed by their fellow Russian, Stalin, in the name of this Communism. I want to know why the Obama administration hasn’t said anything about St Petersburg.

  • nugoyxi

    Every cruise line should cancel stops in St. Petersburg, every musician/band or pro wrestler shouldn’t perform there, and everyone should not buy anything from there.

    SMH at Russia, I feel sad for the LGB citizens there, especially those of St. Petersburg.

  • Mk_Ultra_again

    Russia has a problem of blaming all their problems on the West. They really don’t want to take responsibility for anything. Everything is the fault of the West.
    Including gays and lesbians.
    They don’t want to look at their problems, the corruption, the cronyism, the instablity. Instead they want to find a scapegoat and blame it on the West.
    They failed as a superpower and will never be one again. The problems are only getting worse.
    Let the country break up into several third world countries that beg the West for help.

  • jason

    Mk Ultra again,

    Yes, you hit the nail on the head. Russia is basically a third world country. Always has been.

  • B

    No. 9 · jason wrote, “I want to know why the Obama administration hasn’t said anything about St Petersburg.” Probably because we have enough problems here at home to deal with, not to mention Iran, Afghanistan, and the European debt crisis.

  • jason


    There’s always room for one statement. One statement doesn’t take much effort. I’m still waiting for Obama to make one statement about St Petersburg.

  • Spike

    @Houston Bill: It’s true, sarcasm is totally lost on gays, or at least on gays named Houston Bill.

    For the record, yea, I read the post before I commented, Bill. As for going on the cruise, did you not read my comment before fingers busily started typing and hit enter? Been there done that, already been to St. Petersburg, what point would there be in going again? BTW, I have checked the Atlantis site and there is no mention of warnings that passengers should not fuck on their balcony while in port while in St. Petersburg. OMG OMG OMG ! ! ! Damn that Rich Campbell!!!! The gay Satan!!!!

  • B

    No. 14 · jason wrote, “B, There’s always room for one statement. One statement doesn’t take much effort. I’m still waiting for Obama to make one statement about St Petersburg.”

    Dude, he’s the president of the U.S., not the president of Russia. Western governments have already condemned the law. He doesn’t have to waste time on it personally.

  • AG

    a good fag, fag dead.

  • AG

    Russian gay hate

  • AG

    Don’t touch Russia, pederasts.

  • Houston Bill

    Ah, yes AG…..

    Did Kiril ask you to write these comments?

  • Houston Bill

    By they way, two more people were arrested on Saturday in St Petersburg for simply walking in a park in St Petersburg with red tape over their mouth and holding signs criticizing the law.

  • Orna.Mint

    Russia? Truly, that hopeless country is going to the dogs.

  • AG

    Soon Russia will be a law prohibiting propaganda pidorastii throughout strany.Nashih fagot, you can take in its stranu.Oni we do not need.

  • ron

    @AG: Houston Bill is obviously someone who can string 2 sentences together, whereas you obviously cannot. Haven’t you heard? Crack is whack! Annoying troll.

  • AG

    @Orna.Mint: This is not your business.

  • AG

    @ron: The defender of gays?

  • Houston Bill

    Russia. A corrupt kleptocracy. A place with a declining population (unlike the USA). Unlike other developing nations, Russia bleeds investment capital (net capital outflows). Its economy is a ‘one-trick-pony’ consisting mainly of extracting stuff from the ground using Western technology. Russia’s educated elite flee in droves. Wealthy Russians send their money overseas as fast as they can. Russia’s “allies” are the otherwise friendless (Belarus, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea). Rule of law is completely arbitrary. Its elections are a joke. Its signature on international treaties is considered worthless. Racism and racist violence is widespread and largely uncondemned and unprosecuted. Russia’s constitution might as well be written on toilet paper for all the respect they have for it. There is no freedom of speech, assembly, petition, protest, religion, press, and expression.

    The party of ‘crooks and thieves’ has merged with the “religion” of ‘violence and politics’ and they both have thuggish gangs aligned with them.

    Its obvious that Russia’s nationalists, kleptocrats, and theocrats have decided they cannot win any argument on the issue of Gay rights or democracy. So they seek to use violence and illegal arrests (under Article 31 of the Russian Constitution and multiple articles of Russia’s accession agreement to the European Treaty on Human Rights) to stop the other side from even speaking.

    Russia’s middle, educated, and honest business classes tried to vote with their ballots. Wasn’t allowed. So they will continue to do what they have been doing, voting with their feet and with their money.

    We will continue to criticize Russia’s barbaric behavior. And applaud those brave Russians that stand up for civilized norms.

  • B

    What would happen if you walked around St. Petersburg with red tape over your mouth and a sign supporting the law? My guess – you would be arrested anyway due to a “knee jerk” reaction on the part of the police. Some police officer would see the red tape and assume you were protesting the law even if the sign said the opposite, It only takes one and the outcome would be hilarious – a real embarrassment to the city: “Comrade Yuri arrested for supporting the law in public.”

    Of course you need the arrest filmed, in case someone at the police station catches the mistake and lets the person go.

  • AG

    gays should be stoned.

  • AG

    that homosexuals, shut up?

  • Triple S

    Russia is a horrible place. These are cruel, backward, selfish, corrupt and incredibly hateful people that should be deposed of their power as soon as possible.

    Oh, and just ignore the prick who thinks we should all die. Weird how it’s coming from this guy on THIS site, right?

  • Anti_fascist

    Sad and very annoying news !!!

    What the fuck is happening with Russia ? Neo-Nazi and similar groups have been increasingly present and increasingly vicious in Russia in recent years and the government has been doing virtually nothing to fight the fascist scum but instead they have gone for an anti-gay campaign !

    Sick !

  • AG

    @Triple S: Die the pederast

Comments are closed.