The Russian LGBT Network confirms that Pavel Stotsko and Evgeniy Voytsekhovsky had to leave the Russian Federation because of the pressure and unlawful actions of the Russian law enforcement agencies. Pavel and Evgeniy did not expect such an outcome, and it was the real threat to their freedom and security that forced them to leave.
Few days ago, Pavel and Evgeniy got a confirmation of their marriage in Russia (the marriage was initially registered on January 4, in Copenhagen), at one of the local Moscow departments of the Ministry of Interior. The officer who put the stamps confirming the marriage in their passport did not break any law. According to the Article 14 of the Family Code of Russia, the Russian Federation acknowledges the marriages registered in other countries if there are no obstacles, which are listed in the very same article. Taking into account the fact that Pavel and Evgeniy were adult and fully capable, were not married and did not have close family relations with each other, there were no legal obstacles to confirm their family status in Russia.
The right to marry and found a family is a human right that cannot be restricted on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Even if the national legislation does not provide a possibility for the same-sex marriages, such a marriage registered legally in other countries must be recognized by the Russian authorities.
The reaction of the law enforcement agencies on fully legitimate activities of Pavel and Evgeniy were unlawful and reflected prejudiced personal opinions of some state officials who believe that same-sex marriages are “unacceptable” in Russia.
The trumped-up nature of the charges against Pavel and Evgeniy (they were accused of the damage of the documents) confirms the lawlessness of the law enforcement agencies. Physical and psychological violence and threats of the police officers have no justifications.
The police blocked the entrance to the apartments where Pavel and Evgeniy reside, did not allow friends and activists who came to support them to enter the apartment, cut off electricity and connection to internet. The police even told to the lawyers that Pavel and Evgeniy would not be able to leave the apartment at all if they would refuse to pass to them their stamped passports. They even were threatening Pavel and Evgeniy with the opening of the criminal proceedings against them.
One of big Moscow police officers (Andrey Zakharov) came to negotiate this situation. He said that if Pavel and Evgeniy would pass their passport to him, the police officers would unblock the apartments, and the administrative charges would be taken away. The Russian LGBT Network possess the video of these negotiations.
The police officers also stated that even though there would be no state persecutions of Pavel and Evgeniy, homophobic attacks are possible. And the police cannot guarantee their safety and protection. It is another evidence of the fact that the Russian authorities do not consider homosexual, bisexual and transgender people as equal full-fledged citizens, do not guarantee their security and equality before the law.
The monitoring program of the Russian LGBT Network regularly detects inaction of the law enforcements agencies in cases when they are supposed to protect LGBT citizens, or the conscious choice not to investigate hate crimes against LGBT. Even though we are receiving an information about such hate crimes almost every day. Few days ago, on January 28, two popular androgynous bloggers were beaten in the Moscow city-center.