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Human Rights Activist Evdokia Romanova Facing Charges in Russia for Pro-LGBTQ Posts on Social Media

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Human Rights Activist Evdokia Romanova Facing Charges in Russia for Pro-LGBTQ Posts on Social Media

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In countries around the world, summer is known as the time to celebrate Pride and shine the spotlight on LGBTQ equality and rights. Pride is not only celebrated outside, but also online, particularly across social media. People share posts with their experiences taking part in Pride marches and events, voice their support for the LGBTQ community, and update their profile photos with colourful Pride-themed frames.

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Although it has come with years of struggle, today, many of us can support the LGBTQ civil rights movement, freely and without government interference. And yet, many around the world still cannot.

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On July 26, human rights activist Evdokia Romanova, a staff member at the Samara Regional Public LGBT Movement and a member of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, was summoned by the Russian government and notified that she was under police investigation for an administrative penalty of $1,750. This so-called “administrative penalty” was for “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships in front of minors.”

Her actual crime? Sharing pro-LGBTQ links on Facebook.

Since then, Evdokia’s identity has gone public and she faces daily harassment — even death threats — all for supporting a cause she believes in, and exercising her right to freedom of expression online.

We caught up with her to learn more about what happened, how she’s doing now, and what her hopes are for the future.

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Evdokia, can you describe to us the nature of what you shared on Facebook and the events that unfolded?

I believe that the main accusation is based on web content from the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, a human rights organization that advocates for the sexual and reproductive rights of young people worldwide. 

Let me start from the beginning. On July 26th, I was invited to submit witness testimony (at least that’s what I was told on the phone by the police officer) by the local police station. When I arrived, they charged me with Propaganda of Nontraditional Sexual relationships in front of minors (Administrative penalty Part 2 Code 6.21).

This accusation was a total shock. I declined giving the government authorities a testimony, aware that due to the nature of my human rights work, it would not be wise for me to talk to them without a lawyer.

While they were writing down the protocol, I called my lawyer on the phone and she told me to be very careful about signing any documents. She also asked me to take pictures of the case materials. However, the police officer refused to provide me with any access to the case materials, and only after they spoke with my lawyer, was I able to take a look.

The case materials contained some of my Facebook posts from the 2015-2016, when I was doing reposts from the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights’ Facebook page. For example, one of the posts was a repost from the Guardian, with an article that focused on the legalization of gay marriage.

Unfortunately, I was unable to take a closer look at the case materials, because an unidentified person in the police department took them away and started yelling at the police officer who gave them to me. Then, this same person started asking me about an Austrian man in Samara residing in my apartment. They mentioned that perhaps they would check his documents and see if there were any problems with his visa. I was in complete shock because this person is my partner, and I have no idea how the authorities received such personal information regarding my private life.

After I signed the protocol, I was able to leave the station. Since then, although my lawyer has tried repeatedly, I’ve not received any case materials, only a letter stating the date of my court hearing on September 18th.

You are well-known for your sexual and SRHR (sexual and reproductive health and rights) activism. When did you begin to fight for this cause and what inspired you to get involved?

It started at a local NGO in my home city Samara. We were doing a theater project to educate young people on the topic of healthy sexual behavior, in an effort to promote HIV prevention. Later, I became a staff member of that NGO.

At first, I was more inspired by the theater component of the project, but later, I was drawn to the human rights aspect of sexuality education and promoting the rights of people living with HIV. Today, I conduct my activism on a global scale, and I’m inspired by the stories of the people who are struggling in my country and beyond.

Russia has a long history with online censorship, and even recently banned VPNs. What are your thoughts on the importance of online expression, and what do you believe the government’s actions mean for Russian society?

Online expression is extremely important, especially in a country like Russia, where it is so difficult to organize street protests to express our opposition to the authorities’ actions. I am very sad to see that many human rights activists are forced to leave the country, and most NGO’s get shut down or labeled as “international agents”.

Online platforms remain one of the few means of speaking our mind and voicing our disagreement with the human rights violations.

If the government’s policies continue this way, civil society will eventually be totally silent. There will be no human rights violations – because there will be no one talking about them. This deeply saddens me as I think about the fact that every government in this world violates human rights in one way or another, and we need to bring these issues to light.

What can people around the world do to support your case, your cause, and brave activists, like yourself?

How can people support me? It’s a difficult question. Perhaps sharing this information and talking about this case with others can help…

Truthfully, I don’t feel brave. I feel very scared and frustrated, and very, very tired.

I have to wonder why it’s not permissible for me to repost an article from the Guardian, but why people are allowed to post comments on social networks, under my picture, describing the ways I should be murdered?

I really hope I can win this case in the court. If so, I hope it will serve as an exemplary case for others in this situation. Most of all, I hope that our government will rethink Administrative Penalty Part 2 6.2, and ultimately cancel this discriminatory legislation.

 

If you would like to support Evdokia Romanova, please send an e-mail to the Police Department in the Samara Region (gumvd63@mvd.ru) to tell them that you disagree with the accusations against her, based on Part 2 6.21 Code of Administrative Penalty (rus. ч. 2 ст. 6.21 Кодекса об административных правонарушениях). You can also participate in Amnesty International’s call for Urgent Action.

Want to join us in the fight for freedom of online expression? Get involved with the cause at Unblock The Web.

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Attention Readers: We’ve Moved Our Journalism To The Pulse

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CE Staff Writer 1 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

A large portion of our journalism that you’re used to seeing on our Collective Evolution platform has now moved over to The Pulse. We will be publishing most of our news articles there, while Collective Evolution focuses more on personal development.

You can follow The Pulse on Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  

We’ve done this for a number of reasons, mainly due to the struggles we’ve had with regards to extreme censorship at Collective Evolution. We hope you join us over at The Pulse in our quest to keep doing what we do!

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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General

Abductions & Car Vandalism – Startling Australian UFO Report Unclassified

Gautam Peddada

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

An uncovered Australian report performed by their Department of Defence. “Scientific Intelligence — General — Unidentified Flying Objects” is trending again. Those who have done extensive research on UFOs will find the Australian version of disclosure to be far more intellectually honest than the American version. Albeit it was conducted decades ago.

According to ex-US intelligence official Luis Elizondo, the Defense Department’s Inspector General is presently conducting three reviews. The inquiries vary from the Department of Defense’s handling of UFO claims to Elizondo’s alleged whistleblower retribution. The open IG cases are crucial to Australia’s report because they establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the US Department of Defense is being dishonest and shady when it comes to the UFO subject. For decades, Australia has been a loyal friend of the United States. Within Australia’s boundaries, they share a military installation (Pine Gap). When a close defense ally’s intelligence agencies determined that the US was not being intellectually honest in its approach, perhaps it is reasonable to conclude that there is more to the tale than the 144 incidents studied since 2004 by the UAPTF.

The CIA became alarmed at the overloading of military communications during the mass sightings of 1952 and considered the possibility that the USSR may take advantage of such a situation.

Australian UFO study.

According to the summary, OSI, acting through the Robertson-Panel, encouraged the USAF to use Project Blue Book to publicly “debunk” UFOs. In a tragic twist of fate, when Australian authorities sought explanations from the US Air Force, the allegation was debunked. The authors of the study were depicted as conspiratorial and even crazy by the US Air Force. Ross Coulthart reported this, and it may be heard in a recent Project Unity interview. Courthart is an award-winning investigative journalist who is drawn to forbidden subjects. He also stated on the same podcast that a senior US Navy official identified as Nat Kobitz told him that the US had been in the midst of reverse-engineering numerous non-human craft. According to his obituary, Mr. Kobitz was a former Director of Research and Development at Naval Sea Systems Command.

Continue reading the entire article at The Pulse. 

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Exopolitics

New UFO Film Questions What The US Government Is Hiding

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CE Staff Writer 2 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The US recently released its highly anticipated Pentagon UAP report, but it wasn’t much more than a 9 page rundown of what has been known for decades. Regardless, for many, what was promising was that the UFO subject was being taken seriously again – and perhaps many more scientists might get involved.

For decades many have been warning about leaving UFO disclosure in the hands of a government that likes to use crisis’ or current events to expand its defense budgets. Further, why would we suddenly expect a government, who has been lying about this subject for 70 years, to suddenly come forth with the truth? What would inspire them to suddenly change their mind?

Perhaps it’s because the search for ET is an idea who’s time has truly come. We’ve reporting on this for over 13 years, and are mongst a community of researchers who have been encouraging humanity to look at the evidence for more than 70 years. It feels like an idea that human collective consciousness is more than ready to explore.

The impact the ET question has on our individual and collective worldview has the power to truly change the way we view ourselves and the meaning of life here on earth. Think of the implications answers to this question could have on how we set up and run our society as well. Technology, culture, collaboration etc – I spoke about this more in great detail in my extended interview for Greer’s. prior film Close Encounters of The Fifth Kind here.

Now, a new documentary from Dr. Steven Greer, directed by my good friend Michael Mazzola, seeks to explore what the films calls “the current government and media disinformation campaign promoting 3 big lies:”

1. We do not know what these UAPs/ UFOs are. WE DO.
2. Humans cannot make craft that can maneuver like UFOs. WE CAN and WE DO.
3. The UFOs are a threat. THEY ARE NOT.

Bold statements. Watch the film below and see what resonates most with you.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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