Urgent Action: Activist Faces Jail for Female Body Drawings (Russian Federation: UA 138.20)

September 2, 2020

The trial against Yulia Tsvetkova, an artist and activist from Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Russian Far East, is expected to start soon. She faces up to six years in prison if convicted under absurd charges of “production and dissemination of pornography” for her drawings of the female body. Yulia Tsvetkova, who has been relentlessly targeted since March 2019 for promoting LGBTI and women’s rights through her art, was placed under house arrest between 22 November and 16 March 2020 and remains under a travel ban.



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Boris Viktorovich Kononenko
Prosecutor of Komsomolsk-on-Amur
Krasnogvardeiskaya street, 34
Komsomolsk-on-Amur 681013
Russian Federation
Email: [email protected] 
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 298 5700 I Fax: 202 298 5735
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @RusEmbUSA
Facebook: @RusEmbUSA
Instagram: @RusEmbUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador


Dear Prosecutor of Komsomolsk-on-Amur,

I am writing to express my dismay over the ongoing prosecution of artist and activist Yulia Tsvetkova. She is facing charges of “production and dissemination of pornography” (Point B, Part 3, Article 242 of the Russian Criminal Code) for her drawings of the female body. I am aware that after almost 10 months since the start of the criminal proceedings, her trial will start soon. During this period Yulia Tsvetkova has been subject to searches in her home and workplace, has spent almost four months under house arrest, has been deprived of access to needed medical care and been stigmatized. Her only “crime” has been her artistic drawings and her activism around women’s rights.

Yulia Tsvetkova has been relentlessly targeted since the beginning of 2019 for her activism around women’s and LGBTI rights. She has faced several administrative proceedings under Article 6.21 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors”. In December 2019 she was found guilty and fined for being the administrator of two LGBTI-themed online communities on the social media platform VKontakte, despite that both online communities were marked “18+”, as required by Russian law. In July she was found guilty under the same article and fined for posting a drawing on social media depicting two same-sex couples with children reading “Family is where love is. Support LGBT+ families”.

Yulia Tsvetkova’s promotion and defense of human rights through her art is protected by the right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed in Russia’s Constitution as well as by Russia’s obligations under international human rights law. Yulia Tsvetkova should be praised and not prosecuted, let alone subjected to this ongoing pattern of harassment. I urge you to take all necessary steps to end Yulia Tsvetkova’s prosecution, under both criminal and administrative charges, and all forms of harassment which are reprisals for her human rights activism.

Yours sincerely,