Russia: Socialist and gay rights activist faces political repression and huge legal fine

A young member of Socialist Resistance (the CWI section in the CIS), Sergei Kozlovskii, has been brought to court and sued for the sum of 50,000 rubles (almost 2,000 euros) by Tamara Dadianova, who is a well-known "patriotic" writer. Dadianova has close links to the local authorities in Sergei’s home city of Yaroslavl. In connection with the case against Sergei, Dadianova is also suing the local TV station for 50,0000 euros.

This case arose following Sergei’s participating at a cultural evening, when he was asked to comment on poetry readings. As he came to the stage, Dadianova, who it appears had been drinking, screamed at Sergei, "Extremist, queer, get off" and some of her friends attempted to force Sergei violently out of the hall. Sergei, who is a leading member of the CWI, is also well known as a campaigner for gay rights in Yaraslavl.

A few days later, Sergei was interviewed by the local television about the incident. He described what happened and referred to the obvious state of inebriation of those involved.

Dadianova has taken him and the TV station to court, claiming Sergei has damaged her business reputation as an "academic known throughout the world".

At the first court hearing on 13 September, the political nature of the case became clear. Even before the case was heard, the presiding judge attacked Sergei with phrases such as, "you should be ashamed of insulting an elderly woman" and "has your participation in Yaroslavl Attac [the anti-globalisation organisation] influenced you".

The trial has all the elements of a show trial. According to Russian law, the judge has to ask all witnesses to leave the hall before the start of the trial. This she failed to do and this was then used as an excuse to rule out all of those witnesses who had come to give evidence in Sergei’s favour.

Throughout the hearing Dadianova insulted Sergei with reference to his sexual orientation. There are numerous other breaches of procedure.

For someone in Sergei’s position, the threatened fine will be impossible to pay and he could face imprisonment. He cannot afford professional legal assistance and is relying on legal advice given by members and supporters of the CWI.

The hearing reconvenes on 24 September.

The CWI in Russia is demanding:

  • The current judge is removed from the case
  • All witnesses wishing to give evidence are heard in the court
  • The case against Sergei is immediately dropped
  • Those who attacked Sergei at the ’cultural evening’ are brought to justice.
  • An end to the political repression of Left and gay activists in Yaroslavl.

We appeal to readers to please send protests to:

Leninskii Regional Court, 150040 Yaroslavl, ul Nekrasova 71. Tel: 0852 231243

And also to:

Victor Leonidovich Shirshov, Head of Public Affairs Yaroslavl Region. Tel: 0852 302867, fax: 007 852 303620.

Telecompany "Nezavisimoye Telemedia", 150003 Yaroslavl, ul Sovetskaya 69. Tel: 0852 251923.

Please forward copies of protests to the CWI in Russia,

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September 2002