Drop ‘Propaganda’ Charges Against Russian Activist


Target: Yuriy Yakovlevich Chaika, Prosecutor General

Goal: Drop all charges of propaganda against activist Elena Klimova and repeal the homophobic law under which she is being charged

All Elena Klimova wanted to do was provide psychological support for LGBTI teenagers. Now she is facing possible fines and the shutdown of her organization, which supposedly violates a Russian law that criminalizes “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” Sign the petition and demand that Elena Klimova–and the teens she supports–be left alone by the authorities.

Russia is notorious for its homophobic legislation. In June 2013, the Duma, Russia’s legislative body, passed into law a series of restrictive anti-gay measures, including one that makes it a criminal offense to promote non-heterosexual relationships.

Elena Klimova’s project, Children 404, is conducted primarily through social media, with Klimova giving LGBTI teens a space to talk about the challenges and problems they face and providing them access to advice from both their peers and psychologists. She founded the initiative in March 2013, but nearly a year later, in January 2014, she was unofficially called in for “a chat” with authorities, Amnesty International reports. During the discussion, Klimova managed to convince the investigator that what she was doing did not fall under the propaganda law.

However, about two weeks later she was called in again and officially charged with “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” When she inquired as to the reason behind the reversal, the investigator told her he was following orders from above.

The work that Elena Klimova is doing is invaluable, and the charges against her are both flimsy and clearly politically motivated. Sign the petition demanding that the charges against her be dropped, and urge the Russian authorities to repeal laws that criminalize homosexuality.


Dear Prosecutor General,

I am writing to express my concern for the case of Elena Klimova, who has been charged with promoting “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” in connection with her activism on behalf of LGBTI teenagers in Russia. I demand that the charges against her be dropped immediately and urge you to repeal the laws that make homosexuality a criminal offense.

Klimova founded Children 404 in March 2013, after writing a series of articles on LGBTI teens. She and the organization came under fire in January of this year, when she was summoned to the police headquarters in Nizhniy Taghil for an informal meeting. Klimova argued that she was not violating the propaganda law, and her investigator agreed and let her go. Two weeks later, however, she was summoned again and officially charged. When she asked her investigator what had changed in the intervening time, he replied that he was simply following orders. Orders from where? Why is Elena Klimova, an activist who is providing psychological support to teens who sorely need it, being harassed and prosecuted?

The law is supposed to uphold what is right, not punish both do-gooders and innocent bystanders. The charges against Elena Klimova must be dropped immediately, and the law under which she was charged should be repealed as soon as possible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ludovic Bertron via Wikimedia Commons

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