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Gay Activists Protest During G20 Summit

Published: September 11, 2013 (Issue # 1777)



  • The face of intolerance in Russia includes clerics and nationalists who pelted demonstrators with loose change. 
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

Two dozen LGBT rights activists came to the Fields of Mars on Friday, Sept. 6, the second and final day of the G20 summit, to draw attention to what they see as continued human rights violations in Russia. Despite the more than 100 anti-gay protesters who also came to the site, the police prevented attacks by restraining them at a safe distance behind two OMON riot police cordons and fences.

The protesters, directed by an Orthodox priest dressed in vestments and wearing a cross, sang hymns and threw coins at the LGBT demonstrators. But unlike the St. Petersburg LGBT Pride event, whose participants were attacked, pelted with stones and eggs and eventually arrested when held on the same site on June 29, the authorities allowed the demonstrators to hold their one-hour rally in full.

According to LGBT activist Kirill Kalugin, who filed an application with City Hall to hold the event officially known as a Call for objective distribution of information regarding the issue of human rights in the Russian Federation, he was surprised when the authorities allowed the protest to proceed, despite the increased security measures in the city due to the G20 Leaders Summit.

The protest was held at 1 p.m., hours before a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian human rights activists that included representatives of the LGBT community.

Kalugin, a 21-year-old student at the Polytechnic University, became known for holding a one-man protest on Palace Square during celebrations of Russian Airborne Troops Day on Aug. 2, when he unfolded a rainbow banner reading This is promotion of tolerance and was attacked by uniformed veteran paratroopers within seconds. He also held a placard reading Sodom to every home during the St. Petersburg LGBT Pride event on June 29.

At the Friday protest, Kalugin, who held placard reading Politics are Here, Not in Strelna (the location in south-western St. Petersburg where the G20 summit was held), said the activists wanted to address the international community. They also wanted to counter President Vladimir Putins assertion that there was no discrimination of LGBT people in Russia, made during a recent interview with the Associated Press and the Rossiya-1 television channel.

Nikolai Strumentov, an official with the Committee on Law, Order and Security who represented City Hall at the site told Kalugin to put away the placards written in English on the grounds that he (Strumentov) does not speak English. The protesters then wrote Russian translations on the back of their posters but after a while turned them again so that the English-language slogans could be seen.

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Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegations visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmChams Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finlands Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping malls Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldnt miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBAs Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Centers Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.