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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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Aug. 20


AmCham gets back to business after a summer hiatus with todays EHS Committee Working Group Meeting. Check their website for more details.



Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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