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Gay bar managers arrested in Russian city

A Russian court has ordered the arrest of an administrator and an art director of a gay bar in the city of Orenburg on Wednesday. They were charged with violating the ban on LGBTQ “propaganda.” 

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According to news agency RBC, the employees identified by the media as Diana Kamilyanova and Aleksandr Klimov are the first people who have been arrested since Russia formally banned the “international LGBT movement” last year. 

The arrest comes after police raided the bar Pose on Monday. In its post on Telegram, the court described the administrator and the art director as “persons with non-traditional sexual orientation” and said they will remain behind bars until May 18. 

According to the court, the administrator has been accused of organizing shows that constitute “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” The art director, meanwhile, was responsible for “the selection of drag performers” and has been accused of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among the bar’s patrons and on the bar’s Telegram channel.”

Both were charged under Article 282.2 of Russia’s Criminal Code, which deals with membership in banned organizations. If found guilty, they would face up to eight years in prison. 

In 2022, Russia expanded the existing ban on LGBTQ “propaganda” to minors by outlawing it altogether. Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma – the lower house of Russia’s parliament – said at the time that the ban would shield “our children and the future of the country from the darkness spread by the US and European states.” 

President Vladimir Putin insisted last month that the authorities do not have issues with what the members of the LGBTQ community do in their personal lives as long as they “don’t flaunt it” in public. 

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