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Citys Anti-Gay Law to Be Abolished

Published: June 25, 2014 (Issue # 1817)



  • Anti-gay lawmaker Vitaly Milonov and his supporters protest against an LGBT rights rally on the Field of Mars in 2013.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

St. Petersburgs infamous anti-gay law has been abolished by the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly in a second reading of amendments during a council session on June 18. The amendments were initiated by the Legislative Assemblys United Russia deputy Vitaly Milonov, who had originally introduced the law in 2011.

According to Milonov, the local law prohibiting the promotion of sodomy, lesbianism, bi-sexuality and transgenderism to minors, became redundant after a similar national law came into force in June 2013. However, Milonov, who chairs the Legislative Assemblys committee on legislation, said he would now work on amendments to the Russian Criminal Code to criminalize the alleged offense.

Despite domestic and international criticism and protests for being anti-constitutional and violating Russias international obligations, the citys anti-gay law came into effect on Mar. 17, 2012 after passing three readings at the Legislative Assembly and finally signed by St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko.

The more vaguely termed national law, prohibiting the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations, was proposed to the State Duma on Mar. 28, 2012, soon after the controversial presidential election that year, which was marked by mass protests, and came into force on June 30, 2013 after being signed by Vladimir Putin, who had returned to the presidency.

In over two years since Milonovs initiative had become a law, the only person punished by court for alleged gay propaganda has been Moscow-based LGBT activist Nikolai Alexeyev, who was detained outside the city administration during his one-man protest on Apr. 12, 2012. A St. Petersburg court imposed a fine of 5,000 rubles ($145) on Alexeyev for his sign saying Homosexuality is not a perversion. Hockey on grass and ballet on ice are, a quote from the famous Russian and Soviet actress Faina Ranevskaya.

Alexeyev, the organizer of the Moscow Gay Pride Rally who won a lawsuit against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2010 over 164 bans on LGBT rallies issued by the Moscow administration, filed lawsuits against the law with the St. Petersburg Statutory Court for violating the City Charter and the European Convention on Human Rights, specifically Article 10, Freedom of expression, and Article 14, Prohibition of discrimination. Russia is a signatory member of the convention.

In a statement on June 18, Alexeyev said that Milonov backed down because he feared expected rulings against the law. Milonov apparently got scared and decided not to wait for a humiliating verdict of the European Court of Human Rights, where his law will obviously have a fiasco, he said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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