Russia: surprise acquittal of a feminist artist accused of “pornography”

Russia: surprise acquittal of feminist artist accused of «pornography


Russian feminist and LGBT activist Yulia Tsvetkova was acquitted on Friday of charges of “disseminating pornography” for sharing drawings, we learned from her relatives.  

The court “acquitted Yulia Tsvetkova,” her relatives said in a Telegram channel in support of the artist. “This three-year process ended with the defense winning. We rejoice, but not yet completely. Within ten days, the prosecution can appeal.”

This information was confirmed to AFP by Ms. Tsvetkova's mother, Anna Khodyreva.

Yulia Tsvetkova, 29, had been on trial since mid-April for “illegal manufacture and dissemination of pornographic materials” on the internet in Komsomolsk-on-Amur (Far East).

The trial was held behind closed doors because, officially, pornographic images were to be presented there. In this context, the artist did not have the right to communicate on the content of the accusation. 

According to her supporters, she was prosecuted for having published in 2019 drawings of vulva or naked women on the Russian social network VKontakte. 

This case, opened in 2019, has been dismissed three times by the prosecutor to the investigators for reconsideration, before being finally confirmed last February and sent to justice.

Youlia Tsvetkova has been in the sights of the Russian authorities since 2019. 

Twice, she was fined for works considered to violate a controversial law that punishes “homosexual propaganda”. 

At the beginning of June 2022, she was moreover appointed Russian authorities as a foreign agent.

In a statement, Marie Struthers, director of the NGO Amnesty International for Eastern Europe, hailed the verdict as “a rare and welcome to (…) justice on repression without remorse” while denouncing the “homophobia and misogyny” of the Russian state.