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  2. In Yaroslavl, police tried to stop a picket dedicated to the LGBT representatives’ participation in the Great Patriotic War

In Yaroslavl, police tried to stop a picket dedicated to the LGBT representatives’ participation in the Great Patriotic War

Alexandra Yasharkina
Alexander Derrek in Sovetskaya square
Photo by Yaroslav Sirotkin

Alexander Derrek, a resident of Yaroslavl, unfurled a poster saying, "No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten. Gay people also went to the Great Patriotic War” at the Eternal flame on May 9. The poster outraged some passers-by, while others expressed solidarity with it. The police tried to stop the picket, but found no violations.

Alexander Derrek held a memorial event together with Yaroslav Sirotkin, they are both activists of the Callisto LGBT Movement. On Victory Day, they laid flowers at the Eternal flame and tried to draw people's attention to LGBT issues during the Great Patriotic War.

- In fact, today's official history ignores these people, although, according to various estimates, there were from 8 to 16 million of them in the USSR at the beginning of the war, - said Yaroslav Sirotkin.

Alexander Derrek said that representatives of sexual minorities had been repressed during the war, their names having been deleted from history.

— This action did not mean to insult the memory of our ancestors. I, myself, am a great-grandson of people who fought in the Great Patriotic War. And this day is as important and memorable to me as it is to many others. But I decided not to ignore the fact that people keep silent of this part of the great history. There were LGBT people in the USSR, they were persecuted and repressed, but they also lived and fought when there was a need to protect their country. By mans of this action, I wanted to remind you of those who are easier for the country to forget, but who should not be forgotten. And I tried to convey this idea to people, because LGBT people are not enemies of the state, we are descendants of heroes who gave their lives for freedom and for love in all forms.

Александр Деррек на Советской площади.

Alexander Derrek in Chelyuskinites square. Photo by Yaroslav Sirotkin

Two police officers demanded stopping the action. Sergei Gavrilov, the head of the Department of Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, asked Alexander and Yaroslav to move to Sovetskaya square and escorted them there. After Derrek refused to show his passport, the police arrived. The activists did not sign the warning about the prohibition to violate the law, as it, according to them, contained numerous typos and was illegal. As a result, the police officers failed to find components of crime in the picket and left.


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