Russian anti-homophobia week faces nationalist protests

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Anti-gay activist have begun preparations to disrupt the planned Russian Week Against Homophobia.

It is being held in cities such as Moscow, St Petersburg, Voronezh,

Krasnodar, Omsk, Petrozavodsk, Rostov-na-Donu, Samara, Tumen and Cheylabinsk.

During the week of March 25th-31st, there will be a series of seminars, panel discussions, meetings and film showings with debates.

In addition to this, more signatures for the Manifesto against Homophobia, that was started last year, will be sought.

However, such events are not welcomed by all.

There are reports that many on the far-right and among Russia’s conservative religious community are focused on disrupting the events, even going to the point of refusing to rule out acts

of criminal behaviour.

An email, sent to, states:

“Conducting these kind of activities that flagrantly violate the rights of the citizens of our country to freedom and their moral development, could result in clashes between extremists

and true believers, as well as other opponents of sodomy.

“We have started preparations for the breakdown of these activities with volunteers in all the above cities.

“Hopefully you will wisely stop holding these kind of satanic activities on the territory of our country.”

Russian society as well as the government are notoriously homophobic in character. In past year the Mayor of Moscow has refused to allow gay pride marches, referring to them as Satanic.

LGBT activists regularly face intimidation and violence from far right groups who see the LGBT community as a ‘threat’ to Russia’s national security.

“Russian society as a whole embodies strong negative attitudes and intolerance towards men and women of homosexual orientation based on prejudice and misinformation,” a statement on the Russian Week Against Homophobia website reads.

“It leads to widespread violation of human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT), as well as to hate crimes – physical violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Low levels of sex education is the ground for promoting fear, hatred and extremely fascist ideas by organisations and public figures of particular kind.

“That’s why homophobia is dangerous not only for LGBT themselves, but for the entire society, where the tendency for suppressing any individuality is being instilled.”

Details of the week, for all those who wish to participate, can be found at here.

It is being organised by the Russian LGBT Network, the Youth Network against Racism and Intolerance, the Movement of civil actions GROZA, the Russian HIV/AIDS Prevention Network and LGBT Organisations Raduzhniy Dom, Krug-Karelia and Favorit.