Activists protest against homophobia in Moscow on Sunday,
shortly before being arrested.

PayPal has suspended an account to support LGBT activists in Russia because the organisation behind it is not registered, even though Russian officials refuse to do so.

On Sunday, leading Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseev posted a letter on Facebook from the international online money transfer service saying that it is “unable to process payments for non-registered charities and non-profit organizations”.

On the same day, five Russian LGBT activists were arrested in Red Square in Moscow for unfurling a rainbow banner against homophobia.

The banner proclaimed: “Homophobia – the religion of rednecks”. 

The “GAYRUSSIAFUND” PayPal account has been used to raise money to help pay fines imposed by the Russian authorities on activists who protest against homophobic laws and policies.

“We are not able to register [the organisation] in Russia due to homophobia of Russian authorities,” pointed out a frustrated Alekseev, adding, “What are we supposed to do now?”

PayPal wrote that “This is not a decision we make lightly, and we deeply regret any inconvenience or frustration this matter may cause you. Please understand that this decision is final.”

Any funds that had already been donated into the account will be held by PayPal for six months before being released.

Alekseev said that “due to PayPal’s policy of co-operation with the Russian homophobic authorities” he had decided to refund all payments to those who donated.

PayPal’s stance will further hamper LGBT groups in Russia, who are under increasing official oppression by the authorities.

Under a law signed by President Putin last month, it is illegal to hold any demonstrations or public activities in support of LGBT rights in Russia and anyone who does so faces arrest and being fined.

A number of Russian cities, including Moscow and St Petersburg, have also refused to allow Pride events to take place, arresting and fining anyone who attempts to do so.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend