Russian Gay Activist arrested waving Rainbow Flag at Sochi Olympic Torch Relay

By Cathy Kristofferson, January 18, 2014

rf1Russian LGBT activist Pavel Lebedev today jumped out in front of the torchbearer of the Olympic Torch Relay in Voronezh, Russia and waved a rainbow flag. He was of course then tacked by event personnel and handed over to police. The information on social media from @ru_lgbt_teen who tweeted the action complete with the series of pictures below (thank you!) says “Police took away Pavel Lebedev to the police station number 1 on Bogdan Khmelnitsky Street, 60.

Since youth were undoubtedly present at the pre-Sochi event, Lebedev risks not only charges stemming from jumping the security line but also violating Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law by expressing a positive image (rainbow flag) where youth can see. Imagine…

We will add updates to the story as information becomes available.

Translation of a report found online says:

In Voronezh during the Olympic torch relay was detained known gay activist Pavel Lebedev. This was reported in the social network of its associates. The incident occurred near the bus stop, “DK” Electronics “. There Lebedev ran before torchbearer with rainbow flag.

People from the special support of participants relay twisted activist and handed him over to the police. As reported by fellow activist, he was taken to the police “to determine the circumstances of the incident.”

Recall that the baton passes in Voronezh at unprecedented security measures. However, in all the towns people were forbidden to go beyond the fence.And even more to run out before the party relay.

By the way, Paul Lebedev year ago beat in the center of Voronezh representative of the radical group. This happened at a meeting of gay activists who opposed the law on gay propaganda.

Alexander Gromov”






1/18 2:30pmET: @ru_lgbt_teen Updates: Andrey Nasonov: ‘Pasha Lebedev was released, but the protocol have not given and do not give.’ #Voronezh

1/18 2:36pmET: @ru_lgbt_teen Updates: Andrey Nasonov: ‘Lawyer Olga Gnezdilova trying to resolve the issue. We are all in the police station. Court on Monday.’ #Voronezh


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21 Comments on “Russian Gay Activist arrested waving Rainbow Flag at Sochi Olympic Torch Relay”

  1. jerbearinsantafe January 18, 2014 at 8:49 AM #

    Reblogged this on JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
    A courageous and brave young man who deserves our admiration and support.

  2. Dr. Rex January 18, 2014 at 11:16 AM #

    Reblog!!! And they still say it’s ok to hold these world games there!!!???

  3. Dr. Rex January 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM #

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Someone with balls …. and he paid the price!!! Arrested for waving a flag!! SMH ….

  4. List of X January 18, 2014 at 12:13 PM #

    Just to clarify, according to the report Pavel Lebedev DID NOT “a year ago beat in the center of Voronezh representative of the radical group.” He was beaten by a member of a radical group. Google Translate can, apparently, translate something into something that means exactly the opposite.

    • Cathy Kristofferson January 18, 2014 at 12:15 PM #

      Great! Thank you for the clarification. I’m not happy relying on Google Translate but not sure where else to turn for accurate translations.

  5. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez January 18, 2014 at 12:39 PM #

    Being subdued does not change is sexual orientation. I wonder if the world knows that? ;)

  6. paulakey245562841 January 18, 2014 at 2:55 PM #

    LGBT Heroes and heroines are everywhere! We shall overcome.

  7. tombreyfogle January 18, 2014 at 7:38 PM #

    There you have it…busted for “homosexual propaganda.”

  8. Tracy January 19, 2014 at 6:56 AM #

    And so- it begins…you CANNOT be who you are- in Russia. And our Olympic Ambassadors believe this is just peachy????

    BJK, really?? You’re okay with this?

    Can USA sexual guilt & repression be this blind & ineffective? What a bunch of worms…All under the boot of a sh*tty dictator like Putin.

    USA- get up & off your back! Why should Putin be able to use the world’s Olympics to discriminate, against our own countrymen?

    WTF is wrong with the Olympics Committee? WAKE UP!

  9. christsfaithfulwitness February 13, 2014 at 4:41 PM #

    Don’t miss the touching response of a chaste man who experiences same sex attraction to the anti-Russian Rainbow Push at the Olympics. Sometimes we forget there are men who are “gay,” but don’t self-identify by their sexuality and want to live chaste lives anchored in Jesus Christ. They have a totally different view of current events.

    • Melanie Nathan February 13, 2014 at 5:20 PM #

      Yes there are supposedly chaste straight men and supposedly chaste gay men – what might I ask is the difference? That said I read the article you post and it is quite ignorant. This was my response to it in the comments section. Lets see if the blog owner puts it up or not : “It is so sad that this person seeks to define his sexuality by the act of sex, because if he did not, he would acknowledge the true nature of Russia’s anti-gay laws. Instead he falls into the captivating notion that being gay is about sex. Indeed it is not. it is about love and relationship. And all love by gays and lesbians, whether they are chaste or not, is abhorred and condemned by the Putin law. So indeed Russia should be condemned for the hate its law imposes and for the tacit encouragement of the persecution that has ensued – on those who are gay or perceived as being gay.”

      • christsfaithfulwitness February 13, 2014 at 7:45 PM #

        Dear Melanie,
        It might simply be beyond what you are ready to grasp at this time. This may sound harsh, but your comment reflects the paradigm of reality that suggests we should be labeled according to our sexual attractions and or inclinations. Unfortunately, that way of thinking is so firmly entrenched, that it goes unnoticed, and becomes the standard lens by which we see the world. It really breaks my heart to see people talk about this topic in a way that shows no clarity between attractions experienced and identity embraced. It’s as though that falsehood has been forged onto their soul. All I hope for is that people grow in their understanding and open their minds to reflecting greater degrees of truth in how they speak about this manner. If people did that the sexually-centered labels would fall by the wayside, for they are not capable of reflecting an accurate depiction of who anyone truly “is”.
        Signed, the author of “Meanwhile In Russia” at

        Dear Melanie, Thank you so much for your comment. The blog editor, myself, Susan Fox, did publish your comment. So nice to make your acquaintance. God bless you. Susan Fox

        • Melanie Nathan February 13, 2014 at 10:23 PM #

          Dear Susan Fox and Phantom friend,
          I may be in the box you have chosen for me – hence the oxymoronic nature of your deceptive pronouncement- and perhaps a little smarter than you give me credit for. I knew well of your connection to the “publisher.” It was quite obvious. That said many of us who strive for equality choose our labels purposefully – not ignorantly or unconsciously as you suggest. We enjoy them. We wear them with Pride and the virtue – so deserved. The outcast is he who fears his – hers- its -! Who cares? Choose it and be it or dont – what is the difference when push comes to shove? What you say turns upon itself – like a worm eating its tail only to find its head is about to eat all that is left…. turning upon itself until it is no more. Labels can be chosen and worn with distinction. Your paradigm is an excuse – a blend of shame and pain! My opinion – you seek escape from a truth you cannot face and you hide behind the word of a perceived man in the sky – so benign – so man made. Your god is in your image not the other way around. My G-d is truly the spirit of all creation – the one that acknowledges its truth. The reality but for our bodies we would all be one. You fail to reconcile reality truth desire and the relationship to soul and spirit.

          Now my late grandmother used to tell me before I embarked upon a school exam – “Melanie, if you do not remember the correct answer, remember this – Bullshit baffles brains” And she was absolutely right. However I have learned that condescending comments avail us naught! I prefer to stick with the simplicity of labels and quests for equality for indeed I am trapped in this body – just as you are in yours, the nature of which we cannot escape. No amount of Bible hides Bigotry for Bible is Bigotry – man made to the nth degree. That man made book seeks to tell a truth that lies only in australopithecus. Oh and those doggone dinosaurs- sheez! Now that said hide please do not seek to deprive those of the labels they enjoy and proudly display. You are welcome to your self deception – do not ask me to participate.

  10. christsfaithfulwitness February 13, 2014 at 10:45 PM #

    Melanie, the author of the piece has apparently already retired for the night. I sent him your response. I invite you to copy it at my blog as well. He will answer in the morning. God bless you. Susan Fox

    • Melanie Nathan February 14, 2014 at 6:48 AM #

      I am not that interested to be quite frank. Though he is welcome to post here. Thank You! No more time wasted. I am more concerned with spending my time doing the advocacy work, which is to rescue the gays who are now in hiding in Nigeria and Uganda. The Evangelical Christians – namely Scott Lively and Lou Engle exported their form of Christianity – to Africa – promoting Kill and Jail the Gays legislation which has now caused those perceived as gay and paraded in front of press to go into hiding. No Christian groups have come to their rescue to date. If you have any concern perhaps you can speak out against jailing gays and spend your blog in worthy fashion rather than with the destructive crap that serves only to enhance lies and myth that gave rise to the ANTI GAY sentiment in Africa. If you care you would promote our rescue efforts and consider raising money or donating to our rescue fund. We have got to get the people who are in hiding out. Donations are not tax deductible at this time as we have yetr to register for non profit status,. However can still be made to via paypal. I am not interested in any further engagement with your author – though would encourage you both to donate.

      • christsfaithfulwitness February 17, 2014 at 8:51 PM #

        I do not know Scott Lively and Lou Engle. I am Roman Catholic and any abuse of people who self identify by their homosexuality is a sin. This is what our catechism states, “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”

        My Phantom friend has withdrawn because he is busy. And it seemed you weren’t interested in his response.

        So we Catholics are called to treat people who self-identify by their homosexuality with the greatest tenderness and respect. I would be happy to be your friend.

        My only comment about Uganda is that there may be a deep-seated problem in that country related to a previous king who murdered a lot of innocent people. It is — I’m sure — incidental that he self-identified by his homosexuality, but the people of that country may not see it that way. In short, you may be facing a cultural prejudice that would be difficult to overcome.

        The Catholic Church is beginning a serious campaign of speaking about this issue to teach its people to treat people with same-sex attraction with respect. In fact, we are truly not supposed to call anyone “gay” or “lesbian” since we are all persons made in the image and likeness of God, and we are all beautiful. So I am sure the effort will spread to Africa, and hope your friends may be well. I will pray for them. Meanwhile, I do what I can with my blog, and believe it or not I have readers in Africa. The ground zero effort to redefine the issue in the Catholic Church is coming from They have a number of research papers on same-sex marriage and how the Catholic Church regards marriage. For instance, we do not favor either “gay” or “straight” marriage. You can read it here: God bless you Melanie. Susan Fox

        • Melanie Nathan February 17, 2014 at 9:20 PM #

          Well I always welcome new friends – and appreciate the tome of your discourse. Though you try so hard to show tenderness and respect, as a LESBIAN I find preaching one’s religion quite offensive., I am wondering if you are able to relate to the story without quoting your religion. So for example. What do you think about being a lesbian and being arrested for waving a flag and dressing in rainbow colors? What do you think about the secualar anti-gay laws of Russia? I always ask people to talk to me without telling me about heir religion and without trying to promote their own websites or dogma on my BLOG. I WANT to be called a lesbian and I hope you would respect that rather than tell me that your religion does not like the use of the word. I would find the former a lot more respectful.

          So because you have brought the Catholic church to these pages you leave me with little choice – here goes…. I see with the Catholic Church as corrupt bunch of children raping privileged men in dresses who hide behind the millions of worshipers who feed the coffers. Its a man made slight on God. You have a KING – the Pope – that still makes anti-gay comments despite your pretense that anyone really cares Its a place that abuses small children sexually. I dont have much respect for the Catholic Church. Cardinal Mahoney in San Francisco has turned a blind eye to the rape of children. I see the Catholic Church as a political and abusive force with a lot of nerve going around the world expecting poor people to add to the golden coffers of the Pope’s palace.

          If you really cared about gays as Gods children- then the Pope would have intervened in the mess in Africa and stopped the Anti-homosexuality bill being supported by Ugandan Catholics. BUT they Vatican did absolutely nothing except fuel the rhetoric through its Bishops. One man in particular who started helping gays, Fr. Anthony Musaala who i write about here and who is a dear friend – has been persecuted because of it. He has been accused of being gay instead of the cardinals seeing that he is merely helping gays. he has been threatened, fired, ostracized and no one from the Vatican has come to his defense or come out to say soemthing to help Ugandan Gays. Shame on the Catholic Church for its slience._ It is now complicit in the persecution of Ugandan and other African Gays.

  11. christsfaithfulwitness February 13, 2014 at 10:48 PM #

    P.S. You might like to read a piece on this issue that I actually wrote.
    Susan Fox

  12. Tracy February 18, 2014 at 3:53 AM #

    To every, single person who pipes in with their “religious beliefs” being the end-all of everything…

    I want you to try– very, very hard– to consider what you’re saying under the assumption that THERE IS NO GOD.

    Can you now see that everything you argue falls not only flat, but insane, to those who do not share these beliefs?

    It isn’t a matter of how right you think you are- but more that your personal beliefs ought not tread on my own.

    There must be equality for all.

  13. Cathy Kristofferson February 18, 2014 at 7:14 AM #

    Dear Susan Fox,
    I am not going to Approve your Comment here on my post (please note the byline) about Pavel Lebedev as I do not see the point nor the relevance. No one here on OBLOGDEE is interested in reading about how you blame the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal on “predatory homosexual priests” and Uganda’s homophobia on “this horrible king who identified himself as gay, and murdered children” – we have all heard the blame-the-gays-for-everything stories before. I suggest you stop drinking the Bishop’s kool-aid, get in touch with your own Catholic conscience and learn to think for yourself so you stop simply parroting what you’ve been told. If you wish to continue your private conversation with Melanie please do so over email.
    Thank you, Cathy Kristofferson


  1. Russian Gay Activist arrested waving Rainbow Flag at Sochi Olympic Torch Relay | Daily Queer News - January 19, 2014

    […] Read more […]

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