Owner of Russian gay bar arrested for ‘propaganda’

The arrest is the third linked to LGBT activities at a nightclub in the city of Orenburg

A Russian court has ordered the owner of the Pose gay club in the city of Orenburg to be placed in custody for allegedly organizing “extremist” activities associated with spreading LGBT propaganda.

The suspect will remain in custody until May 18 while the investigation is ongoing, according to a statement by the Orenburg Central District Court on Sunday.

The court has not released the name of the suspect, but some media have identified him as Vyacheslav Khasanov,

reportedly detained at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on March 28.

According to the investigation, the club owner was conspiring with a group of individuals supporting activities of the banned LGBT movement. He is said to have carried out organizational functions such as renting premises and converting them into a bar, appointing managers, selecting artists, approving performances and events, and subsequently posting photo and video materials promoting non-traditional relations on the club’s Telegram channel, thereby “providing access to this information to an indefinite number of persons.”

Earlier this month the club’s art director Aleksander Klimov, and business executive Diana Kamilyanova, were arrested on similar charges. If found guilty, they could face up to ten years in prison. 

 Russian gay club managers added to list of ‘terrorists’

LGBT propaganda has been outlawed in Russia since 2022, and in November last year the Supreme Court ruled that the activities of the “international LGBT social movement” are to be recognized as “extremist.” Last week, Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service included the “movement and its structural units” to the list of persons and organizations deemed to be involved in extremist activities or terrorism.

The Pose club case is the first criminal investigation in Russia associated with the Supreme Court’s ruling. Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously stated that anti-LGBT legislation should not affect people’s personal lives, provided they “don’t flaunt it” in public and do not involve children.

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