Russian LGBT Network

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Russian LGBT Network
Russian LGBT networklogo
Founded 2006
Focus Protection of rights and social adaptation of LGBT
Origins Российская ЛГБТ-сеть
Key people
Igor Kochetkov (chairperson)

The Russian LGBT Network (Russian: Российская ЛГБТ-сеть) is a non-governmental LGBT rights organization working for the social acceptance of and protection of the rights of LGBT people in Russia. Founded in 2006, it was reformed into the first (and only) Russian inter-regional LGBT rights organization on October 19, 2008.[citation needed] The organization is a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)[1][2][3] and is led by Russian LGBT rights activist Igor Kochetkov.


The network was created to rally public support for the elimination of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, to spread the idea of tolerance in Russian society and to help LGBT people lead public lives.


Map of Russia, with LGBT Network regions in purple
Russian LGBT network by region

The network is governed by a conference, which meets at least once a year. Between conferences, the network is managed by a council headed by a chairperson; both are elected by the conference. The network has 13 regional branches:

  • Saint Petersburg
  • Petrozavodsk
  • Pskov
  • Arkhangelsk
  • Volgograd
  • Kazan
  • Naberezhnye Chelny
  • Perm
  • Samara
  • Tyumen
  • Omsk
  • Tomsk
  • Kemerovo
  • Novosibirsk

Two offices, in Krasnoyarsk and Khabarovsk, were closed at the beginning of 2010. In addition, the network has 11 LGBT organizations:

  • Exit LGBT Organization (St. Petersburg)
  • LesbiPARTYya (St. Petersburg)
  • Serving Nuntiare et Recreare (LGBT Christians) (St. Petersburg)
  • Perspective (Arkhangelsk)
  • Ural-Positive (Ekaterinburg)
  • Anti-Dogma Info (Chelyabinsk)
  • League (Volgograd)
  • Human Rights Center of Krasnoyarsk
  • The Walls Need to Talk (SDG) (Krasnoyarsk)
  • Karelia Circle (Petrozavodsk)
  • Rainbow House(Tyumen)


The network offers organizational support and guidance to psychologists, lawyers and other professionals working with the LGBT community, activist groups and local human rights and LGBT rights organizations. With other human rights organizations like Memorial,[4] it seeks recognition for homosexuals who suffered criminal persecution in USSR as victims of political repression. As part of this work 2009 was declared the Memorial Year for Gay and Lesbian Victims of Political Repression, in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the criminalization of homosexuality.[5] From March 23 to March 29, 2009 the network sponsored the third Week Against Homophobia in Russia, with roundtables, films, demonstrations and performances in Arkhangelsk, Kemerovo, Tomsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Naberezhnye Chelny, Novosibirsk, Petrozavodsk, Tyumen, Rostov-na-Donu, Chelyabinsk and Saint Petersburg.

At a February 2009 Moscow press conference the Russian LGBT Network and the Moscow Helsinki Group released a paper entitled "The Situation for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgendered People in the Russian Federation",[6][7][8] the first in-depth study of the legal position of LGBT people in Russian history. The 100-page paper analyzes relevant Russian laws, citing specific examples of rights infringement and discrimination. On July 15, 2009, representatives of the Russian LGBT Network met Russian Federation human-rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin and gave him a copy of the report. According to Lukin, LGBT people have the same rights as others: "If certain people’s rights are violated because of the sexual orientation of those people, we are ready to protect them".[citation needed] According to Igor Petrov, it was the first official meeting of a state representative with LGBT activists in Russian history.

On May 17, 2009, the International Day Against Homophobia, the network organized a "rainbow flash mob" in Saint Petersburg. Bringing together from 100 to 250 people, the network considered it the largest demonstration in Russian history for LGBT rights[9][10][11][12][13] and smaller demonstrations have been held in more than 30 Russian cities.[14]

In August 2009 a brochure about gay and lesbian family rights was published in Russia, examining legal problems faced by same-sex families in contemporary Russia. On August 11 the network sent a written request to the Prosecutor General of Russia to bring a criminal case against environmentalist Oleg Mitvol, whom Igor Petrov accused of fomenting discrimination against LGBT people. The network filed an August 24 complaint with the Prosecutor General against Sergey Ponomarev, deputy chief editor of Komsomolskaya Pravda, for making defamatory public statements about the sexual orientation of individuals. On January 11, 2010, the public prosecutor's office issued a warning to the newspaper: "The examination established that Ponomarev’s statements expressed the negative attitude towards the people with homosexual orientation. For the above-stated reason, the inter-district prosecutor's office issues a warning to the ZAO Komsomolskaya Pravda Publishing House, that breaches of the law in the mass media are intolerable".[citation needed]

On September 17–27, 2009, an International Festival of Queer Culture was held in Saint Petersburg celebrating homosexuals and "different" people. Among the participants were the groups Kolibri, Iva Nova, Betty and S’nega; poets Dita Karelina, Liya Kirgetova and Elena Novozhilova, and singers Olga Krauze and Tatiana Puchko. The festival also featured photo exhibitions, theater performances, poetry readings, art workshops, films, drag-king shows, seminars and discussions.

At its 97th session on October 30, 2009 the United Nations Human Rights Committee presented a report about human rights in Russia based on the Russian LGBT Network report, emphasizing the violation of LGBT rights.[15][16] In a December 24, press release, the network praised Patriarch Kirill’s declaration of the inadmissibility of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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