Free Yulia Tsvetkova

Free Yulia Tsvetkova

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Julia Tsvetkova, a 26-year-old feminist activist and leader of the children's theatre “Merak”, has been arrested in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia. Julia has been accused of “distribution of pornographic materials.” This is how prosecution sees her artwork that is dedicated to body-positive feminism.

The artwork that Julia was arrested for depicts female bodies. Each illustrates a motto: “Real women have […] and it's okay!”. With these pictures she explains that real women have body hair, fat, menstruation, wrinkles and grey hair, muscles, and imperfect skin. The police believe that Julia is using these images to “seduce” children while working with them in the theatre. This accusation is an absurd, there are no signs of pornography in these pictures, and persecution of activist is clearly politically motivated.

Julia faces two to six years in jail for this "crime."

Before that, police was trying to accuse the activist of “homosexual propaganda” for the performance about gender stereotypes, named “Pink ones and blue ones” (here implies the stereotypical color of boys’ and girls’ clothes) in her theatre. Julia was regularly summoned for questioning by the Investigative Committee during the last months. Moreover, even some of the underage actors from Julia’s children theatre were interrogated about the performance as well without the permission to do that from their parents.

Julia constantly receives many threats, and she is bullied and harassed online. However, police do nothing to protect her in this situation. Julia’s mother told in the interview how this bulling negatively affected Julia’s mental health. Julia’s arrest was in the moment she couldn’t call her lawyer because of his vacation, and the activist was left defenceless in such stressful moment. The moment of her arrest was videotaped and it looks like an act of intimidation against other Russian feminist activists. 

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