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St. Petersburg LGBT Activist Detained After Solo Protest

Kalugins protest was stopped by police who were already on site only seconds after it had begun.

Published: August 6, 2014 (Issue # 1823)



  • Kalugin, center, is taken away by police after unfurling a rainbow flag in Palace Square that read My freedom protects yours.
    Photo: Nikolay Shestakov

LGBT rights activist Kirill Kalugin was detained on Palace Square within seconds on Aug. 2 after he attempted to hold a LGBT rights and anti-war one-man protest timed with the Russian Airborne Troops Day.

Kalugin unfolded a rainbow flag with an inscription saying My freedom protects yours and held it for about 10 seconds before he was assaulted by an anti-gay protester, who tried to take away his flag, while at the same time being seized from the other side by the police, who had apparently been stationed on the site to prevent his protest.

According to the law, police must show identification and give reasons for any arrest. However, according to onlookers, they took Kalugin into a police vehicle and ignored his demands that they show him their identification or explain their actions. As the police remained silent, they also tried to prevent him from showing his protest flag to the media present.

The anti-gay protester who assaulted Kalugin introduced himself to onlookers as Timur Isayev from the Islamic NGO Deistviye (Action). He was not detained by the police and instead gave a brief interview to the media present on scene, describing St. Petersburg as hell for homosexuals.

Isayev then headed to the police station where Kalugin was taken and filed a formal report against him, accusing him of violating the law prohibiting the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors.

At the time of printing, it is unknown if any legal action against Kalugin will follow.

Isayev is notorious for his homophobic messages on the Internet, where he describes himself as a colonel of the first moral front, and his attempts to have a high school teacher fired over her participation in an LGBT rights rally in 2013.

Kalugin was released three hours later without any charges being pressed. Speaking to The St. Petersburg Times this week, he said his detention was illegal because a one-man protest does not require any prior authorization by the Russian law.

[The police officers] did not introduce themselves or present any grounds [for the detention]: they took me by the arms and first tried to put me in a car, but then brought a police van and put me into the back section, Kalugin said.

Kalugin said the police took his formal explanation of what happened. Its a standard procedure; when they detain people for nothing, they must create some document, he said. According to Kalugin, he was approached by officers from the counter-extremism Center E police force while held at the police station. They tried to have a conversation with me, but I refused to talk to them, so they soon left, he said. The only thing they did was confiscate the flag.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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