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RFE/RL: Head of former Russian anti-war presidential candidate's campaign arrested

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 13, 2024 3:58 PM 2 min read
Russian anti-war politician Boris Nadezhdin in Moscow, Russia, on Dec. 23, 2023. (Boris Aleksiev/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Igor Krasnov, the head of the short-lived presidential campaign of Russian anti-war politician Boris Nadezhdin, was arrested in the Russian city of Vladivostok on March 13 and sentenced to six days in prison for "propagating extremist LGBT," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

Nadezhdin was the only potential candidate planning to compete in Russia's upcoming presidential election to openly speak out against Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.

He had his hopes to be registered on the ballot dashed earlier in February when Russia's Central Election Commission ruled that too many of the signatures he collected in support of his candidacy were invalid.

Nadezhdin's team posted pictures of the court ruling on Telegram, which said that the charge stemmed from a message Krasnov sent on the messaging app that contained the rainbow flag emoji.

Krasnov's colleagues told RFE/RL that other former members of the team were also arrested.

Russia tightened its already restrictive laws on LGBT people in November 2023 when the Supreme Court labeled the "LGBT movement" an "extremist organization" and banned its activities.  

It is not clear how Russian authorities define the "international LGBT movement" and its symbols. The six-color rainbow flag has been a global symbol of LGBT rights since the 1970s, but Russian lawmaker Alexander Khinstein told the state news outlet Kommersant that the law did not ban rainbows outright.

Khinstein claimed a "classic" seven-color rainbow was permissible under the new law.

Russian courts have nonetheless charged individuals with violating the law for displaying a rainbow flag.

Laws in Russia are often enforced arbitrarily or used to target perceived opponents of the regime.

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