Siberian Court Upholds Acquittal Of LGBT Activist Whose Abstract Art Depicted Women's Bodies

By RFE/RL's Siberia.Realities

KOMSOMOLSK-ON-AMUR, Russia -- A court in Siberia has upheld the acquittal of LGBT activist and artist Yulia Tsvetkova in a high-profile case over drawings and other works of art she posted online that depict women's bodies.

Tsvetkova’s mother, Anna Khodyreva, said on November 22 that a court in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur rejected the prosecutor's appeal of her daughter’s acquittal.

Tsvetkova was acquitted in mid-July. Several days later, prosecutors filed an appeal against the court’s ruling, while anti-LGBT activists filed a petition urging the Investigative Committee to launch a new case against the activist.

Khodyreva said at the time that the prosecutors' move may prolong her daughter’s ordeal for years as the appeal meant a new investigation and trial, which could take two to three years to complete.

Prosecutors said at the time that they sought a conviction and a 38-month prison sentence in the case.

The 29-year-old Tsvetkova was charged with producing and distributing pornographic material for administering a social media page called The Vagina Monologues that showed abstract art resembling female genitalia.

The artist, an activist who draws women's bodies, is known for her advocacy of LGBT issues.

Tsvetkova’s trial began in April 2021 after a nearly 18-month investigation during which she was fined for spreading LGBT "propaganda" and put under house arrest.

The trial was held behind closed because prosecutors said they needed to show the images as evidence.

In May 2021, Tsvetkova launched a hunger strike to protest the case against her, saying the state's “cowardly” handling of her case and the ruining of her life amounted to “torture.”

Amnesty International has said the case against Tsvetkova amounts to political repression and “Kafkaesque absurdity.”

In June, the Justice Ministry added Tsvetkova to its list of "foreign agents."