Take Action for Banned Books Week 2020
End the Prosecution of Yulia Tsvetkova and Drop All Charges
Yulia Tsvetkova, is a Russian activist and artist who is facing prosecution and harassment for defending women’s and LGBTI rights. Yulia was detained on November 20, 2019 and put under house arrest two days later after being charged with “production and dissemination of pornographic materials” (Point B,Part 3, Article 242 of the Russian Criminal Code). If convicted, she could face up to 6 years in prison.
The basis for these absurd charges were her drawings of the female body, including body‐positive pictures of female reproductive organs, which she posted on social media as part of her women empowerment campaign. On the day of her detention, searches were carried out in Yulia Tsvetkova’s apartment and in the children’s educational club where she worked previously. The police seized her electronic devices, documents, and brochures on gender issues.
On December 11, 2019, she was found guilty of “propaganda of non‐traditional sexual relations among minors”, an administrative offense under Article 6.21 of the Code of Administrative Offenses and fined 50,000 rubles (US$ 780) for being the administrator of two LGBTI‐themed online communities on the popular Russian social media, VKontakte. Both online communities were marked “18+”, as required by Russian law, making the fine imposed on her unfounded, even under the homophobic Russian “gay propaganda” legislation (this “offence” only arises if the “propaganda” material is targeted at persons under 18).
On January 17, 2020, Yulia was informed that new proceedings had been opened against her under the same Article of the Code of Administrative Offences, this time for posting on social media her drawing “Family is where love is. Support LGBT+ families” depicting two same‐sex couples with children.
Yulia Tsvetkova has been the target of an overtly homophobic campaign since March 2019, when she had to leave her work with youth amateur theatre company Merak after the police had launched an investigation into alleged “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” on account of her anti-bullying and anti-discrimination play “Blue and Pink”. Also, the theatrical group she had founded in 2018 was forced to cease its activities.
Updated on Aug 24, 2020.