Russia: LGBT film festival fined under ‘foreign agent’ laws
A Russian LGBT film festival has been targeted under “foreign agent” laws, and fined a substantial amount for allegedly failing to declare foreign funding, which organisers deny having received.
The Bok o Bok (Side by Side) Festival, which originated in the city of St Petersburg, was established in 2007, and recently expanded to several other Russian cities including Moscow, Tomsk, Arkhangelsk, Perm and Novosibirsk.
Authorities began an investigation of the organisation in March, and a judge has ruled that the festival must pay 500,000 rubles (£10,000), in fines, for failing to register as a “foreign agent”, under controversial new laws.
On recently introducing the laws, the Kremlin said that any NGOs must register if they are in receipt of funding from foreign parties.
The Side by Side festival denied receiving any foreign funding. A statement posted on the festival website claimed that the judge had ignored their efforts to convince the court that their denial was true.