Arkhangelsk gay law to be challenged in Strasbourg

A small protest outside the children library in Arkhangelsk earlier this year triggers a principled decision for the European Court of Human Rights. Photo: Kirill Nepomnyashiy

Nikolai Alekseyev, founder of Russia’s gay pride movement, files a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) contesting Arkhangelsk’s new law banning homo-propaganda.


Together with two other gay activists, Nikolai Alekseyev was prosecuted after holding a rally promoting homosexuality outside the entrance to the children’s library in Arkhangelsk on January 11 this year.

The three persons rally took place following the anti-gay law approved by Arkhangelsk regional assembly last year. The law entitled “Measures to protect the morals and health of children” is banning any activity aimed at promoting homosexuality in public areas in the Arkhangelsk region. The law was heavily condemned by human rights movements and gay activists in Russia and abroad. 

Nikolai Alekseyev, Aleksey Kiselev and Kirill Nepomniaschy held posters stating “Homosexuality – this is normal” and other statements condemning bans of public information on gay-rights. All three were arrested and given administrative offenses. The court later gave them fines from 1,800 (€44) to 2,000 rubles (€50). An appeal was later turned down.

The controversial anti-gay propaganda law in Arkhangelsk has triggered protests also outside the Barents Region and Russia. 

In February this year the European Parliament adopted a resolution strongly condemning the anti-gay law adopted by Arkhangelsk lawmakers. Similar laws are also adopted in St. Petersburg, Ryazan and Kostroma regions in Russia. The European Parliament called on all Russian authorities to stop restricting freedom of expression in relation to sexual orientation or gender identity, stating that such laws are not in line with the European Convention on Human Rights. Russia approved the European Human Rights Convention in 1996 when becoming a member of the European Council.

The lawsuit now field with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is accusing Russia of violating two articles of the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; Freedom of expression and Ban on discrimination, the website GayRussia reports.