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St. Petersburg LGBT Activist Detained After Solo Protest

Kalugins protest was stopped by police who were already on site only seconds after it had begun.

Published: August 6, 2014 (Issue # 1823)



  • Kalugin, center, is taken away by police after unfurling a rainbow flag in Palace Square that read My freedom protects yours.
    Photo: Nikolay Shestakov

LGBT rights activist Kirill Kalugin was detained on Palace Square within seconds on Aug. 2 after he attempted to hold a LGBT rights and anti-war one-man protest timed with the Russian Airborne Troops Day.

Kalugin unfolded a rainbow flag with an inscription saying My freedom protects yours and held it for about 10 seconds before he was assaulted by an anti-gay protester, who tried to take away his flag, while at the same time being seized from the other side by the police, who had apparently been stationed on the site to prevent his protest.

According to the law, police must show identification and give reasons for any arrest. However, according to onlookers, they took Kalugin into a police vehicle and ignored his demands that they show him their identification or explain their actions. As the police remained silent, they also tried to prevent him from showing his protest flag to the media present.

The anti-gay protester who assaulted Kalugin introduced himself to onlookers as Timur Isayev from the Islamic NGO Deistviye (Action). He was not detained by the police and instead gave a brief interview to the media present on scene, describing St. Petersburg as hell for homosexuals.

Isayev then headed to the police station where Kalugin was taken and filed a formal report against him, accusing him of violating the law prohibiting the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors.

At the time of printing, it is unknown if any legal action against Kalugin will follow.

Isayev is notorious for his homophobic messages on the Internet, where he describes himself as a colonel of the first moral front, and his attempts to have a high school teacher fired over her participation in an LGBT rights rally in 2013.

Kalugin was released three hours later without any charges being pressed. Speaking to The St. Petersburg Times this week, he said his detention was illegal because a one-man protest does not require any prior authorization by the Russian law.

[The police officers] did not introduce themselves or present any grounds [for the detention]: they took me by the arms and first tried to put me in a car, but then brought a police van and put me into the back section, Kalugin said.

Kalugin said the police took his formal explanation of what happened. Its a standard procedure; when they detain people for nothing, they must create some document, he said. According to Kalugin, he was approached by officers from the counter-extremism Center E police force while held at the police station. They tried to have a conversation with me, but I refused to talk to them, so they soon left, he said. The only thing they did was confiscate the flag.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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