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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

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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