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  2. LGBT activists held a seminar in Yaroslavl the day after it was disrupted by special forces

LGBT activists held a seminar in Yaroslavl the day after it was disrupted by special forces

Alexandra Yasharkina
Yaroslav Sirotkin ("There will be a rainbow after thunder")
Photo by Alexander Derrek

Yaroslav Sirotkin, the leader of the Kallisto LGBT Movement, held one-person pickets with a poster "There will be a rainbow after thunder" at the Kirovsky Regional Department of Internal Affairs and the Directorate for Drugs Control of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Yaroslavl on December 6. The day before, police and special forces disrupted the Azbuka Aktivizma (‘The ABC of Activism’) Seminar, organized by activists, under the pretext that they used drugs and violated face-mask requirements in a place of the seminar. Yaroslav Sirotkin told 7x7 about it.

“The picket is dedicated to all the victims of, dare I say it, the gangster attack of the police on the office, where ordinary people gathered to discuss the real issues of activism,” said Yaroslav Sirotkin. “Instead of policing, they have become a repressive mechanism that can be randomly applied to any person or group of people.”

The activist called the incident a signal for the LGBT community: "You cannot hide out at home or anywhere else."

Ярослав Сироткин возле Кировского РОВД

Yaroslav Sirotkin at the Kirovsky Regional Department of Internal Affairs. Photo by Alexander Derrek

After the picket, the activists of the Kallisto LGBT Movement and seminar experts Alexei Nazarov, Alexei Sergeev and Nikolai Shcherbakov reconvened and held a three-hour seminar, previously interrupted by the police. The event was held without incident that time.

On December 5, the Azbuka Aktivizma Seminar, which was held in private on the territory of the business center, was disrupted by the Grom (‘Thunder’) Special Force, police, employees of the Center for Combating Extremism and Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights.

Participants and organizers of the seminar were accused of distributing drugs and extremist literature, as well as violating the face-mask requirements. However, according to the activists, they kept distance and observed face-mask requirements at the event, and the results of their drug tests were negative.

Alexei Nazarov and Alexei Sergeev, two LGBT activists from St. Petersburg, have been holding seminars and sharing their experience of holding actions, communicating with the media and police all across Russia since July 2019. In Vladivostok, Sergeev and Nazarov were detained right at the airport, the police took their explanations and released them within an hour. A seminar in Arkhangelsk was also in jeopardy due to the attendance of the police.

The Kallisto LGBT Movement in Yaroslavl has been working on LGBT issues since 2017. The first public performance of the movement was the action on the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, 2017. Members of the movement provide counselling to members of the LGBT community.


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