- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A website for LGBT teenagers was blacklisted in Russia this week for violating the country’s law against promoting homosexuality.

The founder of the “Deti-404” project, journalist Elena Klimova, said she received a notice on Monday stating that government regulators have found her website guilty of “spreading banned information,” The Moscow Times reported.

Roskomnadzor, the government’s internet watchdog, told Ms. Klimova that her website would be ordered blocked within Russia unless the prohibited information was removed by the day’s end, she wrote in a social media post. The notice did not specify what information on the website was prohibited, however, prompting her to predict the site will soon go dark across the Russian internet.

“Thus, the project will most likely be suspended in the near future on the territory of the Russian Federation. There will be no mirror website [made]. That is all the news. We are working on it,” Ms. Klimova wrote on VKontakte, a Russian social network.

Translated in English to “Children-404,” the website provides Russia’s LGBT teens with an outlet to anonymously share their personal experiences with one another.

“Our society believes that gay teenagers do not exist in nature, as if gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people arrive from Mars as adults,” she wrote previously of the project. “Stop, people! Hear them! These are your children. Who knows: Maybe you’ll see the letter of your own child here?”

According to Roskomnadzor, the website contains “information that explicitly promotes nontraditional sexual relations among children, namely homosexuality among boys, lesbianism among girls and bisexual relationships among children.”

A court in the Central District Court of Barnaul ruled against the website in April, but Ms. Klimova said she didn’t learn of the decision until Monday when Roskomnadzor told her that Deti-404 was being added to its official list of banned websites as a result of the ruling.

When reached for comment, a spokesman for Roskomnadzor, Vadim Ampelonskomu, referred the Gazeta newspaper to the court responsible for the April ruling.

The Russian government previously fined Ms. Klimova the equivalent of $800 and blacklisted her website’s social media page for violating the so-called “gay propaganda” law. Deti-404’s page on VKontakte had nearly 50,000 followers before it was ordered blacked by the government in 2015, Human Rights Watch reported at the time.

In an interview last year on 60 Minutes, President Vladimir Putin claimed homophobia in Russia had been “deliberately exaggerated from the outside for political reasons.”

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