Two bar workers have been arrested under Russia’s newly enacted “LGBTQ+ extremism”, marking a significant crackdown following the Supreme Court’s declaration against the “international LGBT movement” late last year.

The detentions took place at Pose, an establishment in Orenburg near the Kazakhstan border, where a police operation earlier in the month led to the apprehension of staff members Alexander Klimov, the art director, and Diana Kamilyanova, the manager, according to Mediazona, an independent news outlet.

Court records from the Central District Court of Orenburg detail the charges against Klimov and Kamilyanova, accusing them of endorsing “non-traditional sexual orientations” and collaborating to promote LGBTQ+ activities, which contravenes the national ban on the “LGBT international public association.”


Klimov is accused of engaging with drag queen artists and fostering “non-traditional sexual relationships” among patrons and through the Telegram app. Kamilyanova’s allegations include staffing, overseeing service quality, sanctioning performances that purportedly promote “non-traditional sexual relationships,” and managing the financial and economic duties of the venue.

Both are in detention awaiting a trial set for 18 May. They could be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

This aggressive legal stance by Russia, categorising the “international public LGBT movement” as extremist and essentially nonexistent, significantly heightens the dangers for LGBTQ+ individuals in the country, risking severe penalties for mere association with queer identity or activism.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, activists and LGBTQ+ community leaders have voiced their concerns, emphasizing the heightened and real danger now facing the community. This law has precipitated a series of repressive actions against LGBTQ+ gatherings and expressions across Russia, intensifying the already challenging environment for queer individuals.

The backdrop of these events is a history of homophobic and transphobic legislation in Russia, including the 2013 ban on “gay propaganda” to minors, which expanded to include adults and strict definitions of marriage and gender that exclude LGBTQ+ rights and identities.