First Foreign Tourists Arrested Under Russia’s “Gay Propaganda” Law

murmansk-city-portFour Dutch tourists were arrested in Russia for spreading “gay propaganda,” making them the first foreigners to be charged under the country’s controversial anti-gay laws.

One of the Dutch citizens, Kris van der Veen — an LGBT activist — was believed to be making a documentary about gay rights in Russia when he and his two companions were arrested Sunday in the northern city of Murmansk (right) for violating the “rules of stay.”

According to Gay Star News, van der Veen had interviewed a teenager for the doc , which is in direct defiance of the anti-propaganda law President Vladimir Putin signed into law earlier this year.

Under that particularly puritanical piece of legal horse shit, simply being or appearing gay, or even just pro-gay, in Russia is enough to land you in the clink — whether you live there or not.

After being charged, the three foreigners were apparently free to go, but their hearing is scheduled for today in Moscow. If convicted, they could face hefty fines, up to 14 days in prison and then deportation back to the Netherlands. The Russian LGBT Network is reportedly providing legal assistance.

So if you’re thinking about going to Russia anytime soon: don’t. That is, unless you’re going to the Olympics in Sochi, in which case, leave the rainbows and sequins at home…figure skating is going to be really boring next year.

UPDATE: A judge has pushed the court date back to a later date.

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  • Ana Victoria

    I really hate this this law too, but I do defends DEMOCRACY, this law was voted unanimously by their parliament. It’s the immense majority that defend this law.

    It’s not about change this law, it’s about change russian people minds.

  • Triple S

    @Ana Victoria: I agree, but the Russian government has made it even harder to be able to do that. Look at North Korea. Changing their minds would work wonders for them, but their government just doesn’t allow it.

    So what does one do in this situation? Just turn a blind eye? I would say that their needs to be some level of influence to change this status quo. Not sure how to do it, but I think it’s better than letting them stagnate into the dark ages again. Just my opinion :)

  • CaptainFabulous

    @Ana Victoria: Please, Russian “democracy” is a farce. It’s almost as non-existent as our own.

  • CaptainFabulous

    @CaptainFabulous: that was supposed to say “it’s even more non-existent as our own”.

  • kayakriver

    @Ana Victoria: There isn’t democracy in Russia. The mere fact that the law was passed unanimously without even one vote against shows it. Russia has never been a good country, and it seems that it’s getting worse.

  • balehead

    Procuring underage youths for sex is illegal in any country…get your facts straight Queerty….

  • CaptainFabulous

    @balehead: If by “procuring for sex” you mean “interviewing”, no, not illegal in any country besides Russia.

    And I hate to break it to you but there are plenty of states right here in good ‘ole Uh’Murica where a child as young as 14 can be “procured” as your wife.

  • Cam

    @Ana Victoria:

    What a lie.

    That is the same excuse that countries like Afghanistan use for their treatment of women….gee, this is what the govt. wants.

    Nice try.

  • jeff4justice

    @Ana Victoria: You’re exactly why Americans will put up with anything the 2-party system does anymore. You just go “It’s the law.”

    Alabama’s state constitution requires racial segregation and voters there upheld it in 2004 and 2012 but those darn activist judges prevent it from being enforced. But if somehow a judge ruled Alabama could start racially segregating (maybe they can with the Supreme Court’s recent attacks on the Voting Rights Act) people like you would just go “Oh well, it’s the law.”

    The general public that defends immoral inhumane laws are as awful as those who make the laws.

    And of course LGBTS there are trying to change minds.

  • DCFarmboi

    There will be talk of a boycott of travel to Russia, which, if effective, would be a good thing.

    But it will never be effective unless the travel companies that love to flaunt how “gay friendly” they are take some action that will hurt the commissions they get for Russian tourism and travel. And they will never do that until our national gay organizations refuse to recognize them as gay friendly until they do. And our national gay groups won’t do that because they want their contributions.

    And it need not even be a total refusal to book Russian trips. How about every travel agency, airline, hotel reservation system, etc. simply give each and every one of their clients (gay and straight) a statement warning them about travel to Russia before they make their booking?

    Not a chance any of them will put profit second.

  • wrww

    1. I’m confused–it says there were four people arrested, but only three were released?
    2. A boycott on the Olympics isn’t impossible.

  • stfallon1028

    Now being gay is an international incident. Motherfuckers.

  • macmantoo

    Heaven help any gay participants in the Olympics.

  • mpwaite

    Okay so how is there an Russian LGBT network in Russia if it’s illegal to be gay in Russia? Is the network actually located IN Russia? QUEERTY. COME ON.. Do your research and explain this oddity???

  • Gordon

    Easy:Don’t go.

  • jrb236

    Putin must anwser to the Russian State Church. Without them he be nothing. The church always liked Dictators who they can control to do what they want. Russia is not a democacy and never was one. They used that word as a cover up for their Dictator Putin. Russia is a religious contolled country. Remember Putin was a Communist until recently and his mind and heart is Communist and Dicatorship is in his blood. The church had great influence under Communist rule. Lenin had nothing to do with Russian the Church. He was an atheist. The royal famlies were under Russian Church control. The Russian Church always was against gays. Their American Russian Churches even preach against gays. I know their hate against gays from personal experience. Family relatives will not even speak to me those who are Russian. My sister-in-law is Russian and she will not allow me in their present. Her and their hate is not only in Russia but here in the United States.

  • SakeDad

    How ironic. The ad to the right of this article was for Stoli Vodka (it rotates so may not be for you) I have already seen calls for boycotting all Russian Vodka. Can we get the gay clubs to pull these? It worked for Anita Bryant and Orange Juice in the 80’s

  • bmwblonde

    Poor Mother Russia. And even more so, poor Russians. Their country has been a backward, Feudal (and autocratic) quagmire since the Middle Ages. Never got OUT of the middle ages. The “wonderful” commie revolution was just a change of ownership, from crackpot inherited Tsar depots to the likes of Lenin, and then Stalin (whose murder of 20,000,000 or more makes Hitler look like Amateur Hour). Putin – KGB-born and bred – is just another in the endless line of sociopaths who ‘believe’ the Russian people are too childlike to live except under Totalitarianism. And of course the so-called Russian Mafia is just the hybridization of The Party Top Goons & Thieves with a soupcon of capitalism. It’s the Russia people I feel for – for they have never known anything different and likely — depression has become part of their genetic code. As for “gay rights” in Russia, well NO ONE has any rights there, but of course Putin is an ignorant, Commie-Puritan ass, always looking for scapegoats to distract the larger mob from putting HIS head on a pike. I’m sometimes very pissed off with the USA, but compared to Russia, it is Shangra-La. (Whereas compared to France or Germany – the USA is a backward, ignorant, “religious” third-world train-wreck). Ciao, comrades.

  • queerty1958

    Russia, you are dead to me!

  • moth dust

    Ana- you seem to not understand about laws ,democracy, discrimination, and minorities : ] For example, if people voted to have a law to return race based slavery, and a majority voted for it, our system of checks and balances is meant to protect minoritiesfrom abuse, especially those with a history of oppression. This is the problem with what is happening in Russia and elsewhere. Gays are an oppressed minorities with a history of abusive treatment. That is why they need protection from further unfair treatment under the “laws” which are meant to project not to harm citizens : )

  • tomron

    @Ana Victoria: Can’t agree. In fact, can’t disagree more!
    Democracy does not stop with a vote. Democracy continues with actions. Also, true democracy can never allow a majority to trample on the rights of a minority.

  • tomron

    Russia and the Ukraine are on my bucket list, since that’s where my father hailed from. But, at age 80, and with the exchequer diminishing, I guess it just got zapped!
    Just as my late husband and I refused to go to Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls (we went to Zambia instead), because we refused to let the bastards have one dime of our hard earned tourist dollars, so will I refuse to leave anything in the land of my forebears!

  • Daniel-Reader

    Democracy has to be more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. That’s the most famous quote about majoritarism and democracy. If this is about voting to take away people’s human rights, the global LGBTA community vastly outnumbers Russia’s population, so a vote could be done to wipe Russia from the face of the Earth forever and it would pass. And nothing Russia could do could stop it from being done. It wouldn’t make it right to vote away their human rights any more than it is right for Russia’s parliament to violate human rights. The enforcement of human rights requires that politicians be held personally accountable for violating human rights.

  • LadyL

    @mpwaite: I don’t understand your question, unless you are being facetious.
    There are many places in the world–and for that matter there are still places in this country–where being LGBT is both dangerous and forbidden, “legally” or otherwise. That doesn’t mean LGBT people don’t exist there; in fact the prohibition is clear evidence that they do and someone is determined to keep them all silent, fearful and closeted.
    But brave men and women do fight back and try to provide support for each other and others. That would be the network Queerty refers to and there’s nothing “odd” about it.

  • itzallan

    It’s pitiful that the Russian people have been shafted so much by corruption from their government that they are losing sight of their own humanity. LGBT people there are Russians, their own people, and they’re being scapegoated and treated like criminals. Hasn’t the world been dragged through this before, like in Nazi Germany? It’s insanity sanctioned by a massive government pretending to be a democracy and a powerful church pretending to be the right hand of God.

    I have to disagree with the recommendation of the author for winter Olympic athletes to leave their rainbows at home when in Russian. What I would like to see is all teams, both gay and straight, to wear rainbow flags and slogans in support of LGBT people. I would like to see a massive demonstration of support for Russian gays and lesbians from the athletes. What would the Russian authorities do? Arrest all the athletes? That should get some attention.

    There’s been so little attention here in the US and internationally about the growing atrocities against gays and lesbians in Russia (or in other countries), and the winter Olympics could help bring more attention to the problem.

  • Red Meat

    @Ana Victoria: Democracy? How about some freedom of speech first?

  • Jackhoffsky

    @mpwaite: There is an LGBT community in Russia. Buzzfeed has a series of photos that you should see

    From the three people I know who have been to Russia, all of them say that Russia isn’t really a tourist-friendly place ANYWAY. Even in Red Square there are places you go… and there are places you don’t go. It’s just not a friendly place toward anything outside the structure… politically or socially. THAT is all second hand information however.

  • edfu

    This situation will only get worse. Urge the U.S., and all nations, to BOYCOTT the winter Olympics in Russia!!! We cannot allow Russia to arrest our gay Olympians.

  • Jerry12

    @Ana Victoria If you think that Russia is a Democracy, I suggest you go back to School and retake your History classes.

  • heath0043

    @mpwaite: The same way there was a Jewish network in Nazi Germany. It is underground.

  • p-candotorg

    Why not translate this site into Russian for a start. So people there may learn and read about other countries!

  • KCMR

    I leave for Russia on Friday. I honestly have never been more nervous in my life.

  • michaelvacirca


    Boycott the Sochi 2014 Olympics

    In light of the recent anti-gay laws enacted in Russia combined with the detention of a foreign film crew, we are asking the Obama Administration withdraw the United States Olympic Team from the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The criminalization, jailing, and beating of homosexuals and their supporters by Russian government and police forces must be met with strong condemnation and political pressure.

    No assurance has been made by the Russian government that the world’s gay athletes and Olympic supporters would be protected from discrimination or jailing. The United States cannot allow such an injustice to occur. We feel for our athletes that have dedicated their lives to training for this opportunity, but I hope that they too would stand up for their fellow athletes and citizens.

Comments are closed.