© Showtime

A prominent LGBTQ+ rights group, as well as several lawyers, have been labelled “foreign agents” by Russian authorities.

On the evening of 8 November, the move was made against the Russian LGBT Network and five lawyers.

The classification requires the group to comply with an array of administrative procedures, as well as making the status known across its publications and social media accounts.

Authorities say it helps identify those receiving “foreign funding” and engaging in “political activity.”

The Network has consistently fought for civil rights in the country since its 2006 inception and currently has 17 branches in Russia.

It is one of the most well-known groups in the region, as well as abroad due to its efforts in rescuing LGBTQ+ people from Chechnya during its crackdown on the community.

A statement released by the Russian LGBT Network said that it will challenge the move in court.

It read: “We don’t know why we have been declared a ‘foreign agent.’ The Russian LGBT Network disagrees with this status. We are not involved in political activities, we offer legal and psychological aid (and) defend the rights of the LGBT+ community.


Ivan Pavlov, a prominent lawyer in Russia, and four of his former colleagues were among those designated “foreign agents”.

They specialise in helping journalists and activists who have been accused by the government of treason.

Writing on Facebook, Pavlov made a similar commitment to fighting the actions of the Russian authorities.

Russia has a long history of restricting LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion.

In 2013, the country banned homosexual “propaganda” aimed at minors with a new law, something which eventually became grounds for banning Pride marches and the display of rainbow flags.

In 2020, gay marriage was effectively banned when the constitution specified that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.