Nadezhdin campaign volunteer arrested for ‘LGBT propaganda’ after using rainbow flag emoji

The head of Boris Nadezhdin’s campaign headquarters in the city of Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East was arrested on Wednesday for spreading so-called “LGBT propaganda” after allegedly using a rainbow flag emoji in a private group chat, independent media outlet Mediazona reported.

Igor Krasnov was charged with using “extremist symbols” after he supposedly used a rainbow flag emoji in a group chat with just 11 members in December. A court in Vladivostok remanded him in custody for six days on Wednesday.

Krasnov volunteered at the local campaign headquarters for Boris Nadezhdin, the anti-war presidential candidate whose bid to stand in this weekend’s election was rejected by the Central Electoral Committee last month on the basis that a high proportion of signatures supporting his nomination had been declared invalid.

Two of Krasnov’s fellow volunteers, Danill Laptev and Anastasia Konkova, were also picked up by plainclothes agents from their university dorm overnight, the Nadezhdin campaign’s Vladivostok headquarters said, adding that they had heard nothing from the volunteers since their arrest, and that they considered them to have been “kidnapped”.

Regional news outlet Zolotoy Most reported that all three were suspected of participating in a “banned LGBT organisation” and that criminal charges were being prepared. If found guilty, the volunteers face up to 12 years in prison, following the Russian Supreme Court’s ruling that the “international LGBT movement” was an “extremist organisation” in November.

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