In Russia, Two Women Fined for a Lesbian Kiss

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Russian Lesbians Fined for a kiss

State Homophobia in Russia Does Not Shy Away from Ridicule

In an ongoing display of state-endorsed homophobia, Russia has taken action against individuals for expressions of LGBTQ+ identity, following the penalization of an individual for a rainbow flag by fining two women for sharing a kiss. This incident marks another chapter in Russia’s anti-LGBTQ+ campaign.

Recent Crackdown on LGBTQ+ Expression

Russian courts proudly announced on Tuesday, March 12, that two influencers were fined 500 dollars each for sharing a kiss in a café and then posting a video of the moment on TikTok and Instagram. According to the indictment, “In February 2024, these two residents of Krasnodar [in the southern part of the country] posted a video clip showcasing inappropriate behavior in a public setting.” The video, which was widely shared by the British tabloid The Sun via Instagram, shows them sitting at a table, staging a marriage proposal before exchanging rings and sharing a passionate kiss. This event is part of the ongoing persecution of LGBTQ+ individuals in Russia.

Public Apologies Forced on Influencers

Vlada Alchaeva, 24, and Vika, 19, were forced to issue public apologies, which were broadcasted on Telegram by the state-run RIA Novosti agency. In the video, the two women, with blurred faces, are seen being interrogated at a police station, with one of them stating that it was a “joke” intended for their social media followers.

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Despite their “apologies” made in front of the police, the court found them guilty under the homophobic laws enforced by Vladimir Putin’s administration since 2013 and intensified in 2022. These laws criminalize “the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships and/or preferences,” as stated on Telegram by the press service of the Krasnodar region courts. The service reported that the two women were subjected to “an administrative fine of 50,000 rubles each” (approximately 500 euros).

Additional Instances of LGBTQ+ Suppression

At the beginning of February, another woman, Irina Mossina, faced penalties for posting photos of the rainbow flag, a symbol deemed “extremist” following the ban of a so-called “international LGBT movement” by Russian authorities at the end of 2023.

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