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OUTLOUD - Police with a dog, rainbow above Isaac and seven balls destroyed by Cossacks. How went the Rainbow flashmob 2016 in Russian cities?

On May 17, the world celebrates International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. On this day in 1990, the World Health Organization excluded homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases.  Since 17 May 2009, Russia has held the Rainbow flashmob when colourful balloons are released into the sky. Out Loud tells how and where the actions took place in Russia. [This article covers only part of the actions and events organized in the different regions of Russia]

Saint Petersburg

For the first time in many years, the authorities of Saint Petersburg denied LGBT initiative group “Coming Out” to carry out public action. On May 21, the Rainbow flashmob was supposed to take place at the Mars field. Officials banned the action referring to the propaganda law and to the fact that the area was already occupied.

However, the action took place though another place and another time. In the morning of 17 May, about 40 people gathered in the square near the Saint Isaac's Cathedral and the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg and released 200 balloons into the sky.


Moscow activists held Rainbow flashmob on Arbat. "Everything went well and positively, there were about 50 people. We hoped to gather more, however, we had to take increased security measures; it affected the number of participants. After running the balloons we have distributed hundreds of leaflets,"- LGBT activist, Igor Yasin wrote on his Facebook page. "Novaya Gazeta" reported that one of the participants of the flashmob, Aytent Yakubova, was attacked by two women, who torn her leaflets. Participants of the incident were taken to the police station. The activist was released three hours later without a protocol on administrative offence.


Some random people tried to disrupt the Rainbow flashmob in Ryazan. As a participant of the action, Julia Piskunova, told to "7x7", she and three of her friends decided to release the balloons into the sky. However, dozens of people, some of whom wore Cossack uniform, surrounded them. "They spoke rudely, and burst our balloons", - said Piskunova. "Cossacks" managed to destroy seven balloons. According to activists, the police prevented physical attack on the participants of the action.


On 17 May, Murmansk activist, Violetta Grudina, held an individual picket. Within half an hour, she stood in the center of the city with rainbow balloons and poster calling on the day against Homophobia. On her page "VKontakte", Violetta wrote that her picket was guarded by four police officers with a dog. There were spiteful people around, but they have not dared to approach. She had also led a live video on Periscope service; more than 700 people viewed it.


Activist Ivan Krasvitin-Belov held an individual picket in Samara. According to him, the townspeople's reaction was mostly positive. One of the passers-by advised Ivan, do not to go to such actions alone because of “idiots” around.

In addition, the local LGBT organization “Avers” organized musical flashmob in the tram.



Krasnodar activists from the LGBT-movement "Revers" released 150 balloons nearby the museum of military equipment "Arms of Victory". No incidents were reported.

Nizhny Novgorod

Fifteen activists distributed thousands of leaflets with scientific data about homosexuality in Nizhny Novgorod. It was reported that during the action in the central streets of the city participants talked to 200 citizens. The action took place without any incident.

Original publication