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Online Support Group For Russian LGBT Teens Charged With Violating "Homosexual Propaganda" Law

"This is an extreme level of madness. We publish letters from underage gay men and lesbians and this is considered propaganda among minors," said Elena Klimova, who faces the charge for running Children-404.

Posted on January 31, 2014, at 11:26 a.m. ET

Russian authorities reportedly filed charges on Friday against the head of an online support group for LGBT teens, for violating the law prohibiting "the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships to minors."

The case is being brought against Elena Klimova, who runs Children-404, which posts stories from Russian LGBT teens on the Russian social networking site VKontakte. This is the fifth case reported in which Russian authorities have invoked the propaganda law passed in June. It follows the conviction on Thursday of the editor of a Russian newspaper for its reporting on the firing of a gay teacher, for which he was fined the equivalent of about $1,400.

Klimova brushed off concern about the law during a July interview with BuzzFeed.

"I thought about [the law] for a long time, and came to the conclusion that I should go on as if it does not exist," she said. "It's practically impossible to apply it, and it's unclear what the law demands of you."

When charges were presented Friday, she told the Russian outlet Rosbalt: "On the one hand, was surprised. On the other hand, I wasn't, since people are fined under this law for lesser faults. But this is an extreme level of madness. We publish letters from underage gay men and lesbians and this is considered propaganda among minors."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.