An unknown person wrote a denunciation of the deputy of the St. Petersburg district “Liteiny” from “Yabloko” Sergei Troshin, reported December 12 edition of “Agency”. Because of this, the head of the municipality from United Russia, Pavel Dainyak, asked the prosecutor’s office to check Troshin for “LGBT propaganda.”

Troshin has been advocating for LGBT people for many years, and at the end of June this year committed coming out as gay. The deputy also initiated appeals from the Human Rights Council of St. Petersburg to the State Duma demanding not to adopt a law on “LGBT propaganda”.

“Paper” I talked to Sergei Troshin and found out who he considers the author of the denunciation, how other municipal deputies reacted to his coming out, and what he is going to do after checking for “LGBT propaganda”.

Have you been denounced before?

— Since the summer of 2022, when I committed coming out, this is the first denunciation. However, there was a case in 2020: on March 17, for the second time, I put a rainbow flag on the table of our municipal council during a meeting, and one activist wrote a denunciation of me to the police. Allegedly, I “promoted LGBT among minors”, although, it is clear that this is complete nonsense, [так как на заседании не было людей младше 18 лет].

I assume that this activist is close to the leadership of the municipal council. She often came to meetings and constantly spoke out against us and for the leadership. She also came under many of our posts on social networks and criticized us in every possible way, but praised the current leadership of the municipality in the person of its head Pavel Dainiak.

After her denunciation, I was called [в отдел] policemen. I explained that, of course, I put up a flag in solidarity with LGBT people in order to fight discrimination and so on. This is where it all ended. I think the police took it adequately [и не стала возбуждать дело].

– How did you know that you were again denounced in 2022?

“I didn’t receive any verification papers. But I understand what the denunciation is connected with: November 23, the State Duma accepted the second reading of the law on “propaganda”, and I posted a video on my telegram channel where I criticized this law. A gigantic number of people or bots came under the post: they left 1.5 thousand comments, 90% of which were homophobic (before that, on average, 5 comments were left under posts in Troshin’s channel – approx. “Paper”).

Among these messages, I noticed one comment from an unknown account on Friday, November 25th. According to the user, he wrote a statement to the municipality “Liteiny Okrug” to check me for the so-called “LGBT propaganda”. There are no photos on this account, the username is Alexander. I don’t know who it is.

On Monday, December 12, a friend sent me a screenshot from a homophobic channel and said: “Serge, look, some denunciations are already being written about you.” In this telegram channel, a scan of the paper was posted, which came to the applicant from the “Foundry District” signed [главы муниципалитета «Литейный округ» Павла] Daynyak.

Screenshot sent by Troshin’s friend / Sergey Troshin

As follows from the document, Dainiak applied to the prosecutor’s office to be checked for “propaganda”. The statement was dated 29th of November.

In the comments of this homophobic Telegram channel, I found the very user who said [в комментариях к видео против закона]that wrote a statement to me. As follows from the comment, it was he who received the scan of the document as the applicant. This is how I found out that a denunciation of me was indeed sent to the prosecutor’s office from the “Liteiny Okrug”.

Statement on the denunciation / Sergey Troshin

– Did you go to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in connection with the denunciation, did the security forces contact you?

– No, no one contacted, I didn’t go anywhere. I am not aware of any updates on checking me for “LGBT propaganda” since Monday, December 12th. So far, no one from the prosecutor’s office, police or other departments has contacted me.

Did you talk to Dainyak about the denunciation?

– No, we did not talk about this topic with him and did not intersect.

– Did you face criticism after the news of the denunciation appeared?

– No, only with the absolute support of me from so many people when they found out about this denunciation.

– Some of your social networks are now closed. Have you decided to protect yourself after the denunciation?

— I closed them before I knew about him. [до 12 декабря]. This was done for a while in order not to make it easier for homophobes who write denunciations. After all, by the time the law was passed, they were at a low start. Pushing and pushing each other with their elbows, they were going to write denunciations on a large number of people who defend the rights of LGBT people in Russia.

It was obvious to me that such a wave would come. I decided that for the time being, I needed to make my social networks, where there is a lot of LGBT content, private – only for friends, and not for general distribution. To wait out this homophobic wave for a while.

— How did your party colleagues react to your coming out?

“They responded well. Those who are less than the older generation are generally fine. Older colleagues, with their own nuances, but also took it normally.

We still have a liberal and democratic party. Many congratulated and thanked for such openness.

What do other municipal deputies think?

– Many oppositional deputies of our municipal district congratulated. Even those who are not members of the Yabloko party, but, for example, self-nominated candidates from 2019 and who hold approximately similar views. I also did not see any condemnation or skeptical and negative reaction from deputies of other districts. But I communicate with people of oppositional views. But United Russia did not talk to me: we simply do not have communication with them. So I don’t know what they think there. Well, Dainiak still wrote to the prosecutor’s office.

– Because of the new law, you face a fine of 50 to 100 thousand rubles as an individual or from 100 to 400 thousand rubles as an official. What will you do if you are fined?

– I hope that the prosecutor’s office still does not initiate an administrative case. Because there is nothing to excite.

The so-called “LGBT propaganda” is a construct that does not exist. It is quite clear that it is impossible to promote either sexual orientation or gender identity. “Propaganda” is fiction that they try to put forward as homophobic and discriminatory laws to please the conservative part of society.

But if the prosecutor’s office still initiates a case against me, then we will legally respond to this. I have already contacted lawyers and lawyers. We will defend our interests.

– AT conversation with the Agency journalists, you promised to continue to condemn and criticize the law. Have your plans changed?

– Of course, [не изменились]! Now I am talking to you and condemning this law. I s-su-waa-yu and kri-ti-ku-yu homophobic discrimination law.

Are you afraid that a criminal case will be brought against you, even if under a different article?

Anything can be expected. The current Russian legislation, in my opinion, is very repressive. And it’s really scary to say anything: you get the feeling that you are walking through a minefield. One careless word – and you are undermined by a mine of a criminal case. So, of course, there are concerns.

On March 5, when many opposition activists and politicians were searched in an absolute fictitious case of the so-called telephone terrorism, it became clear that these cases were an opportunity for the security forces to intimidate opposition-minded people. When they come to you at 7 in the morning, turn everything upside down and seize equipment, and also take some for interrogation, many people are very worried.

Then at 7 am [5 марта]security forces also came to my apartment, two of whom were with machine guns, [как позже рассказали соседи]but I wasn’t at home. I came home at 12:30 the same day, didn’t see anything suspicious. And an hour later I got a call from the 78 TV channel and asked what I thought about the search in my house in the case of telephone terrorism. On their website was newsin which I am listed among the people who are being searched.

This story gives me some anxiety. Every morning, from 6 to 8 am, I have a fear that they might come. I constantly listen to what is happening on the landing and if someone is going to break in the door.

— Are you going to leave Russia?

– Many of those who were pressured by the authorities left Russia. I do not blame anyone, everyone makes their own decision. As a person who wants to continue to engage in politics in Russia and hopes that the situation will improve here, I believe that Russia will become a full-fledged European country. So I decided to wait out this dark time here.

– Do you plan to reduce activity after the denunciation?

– After the adoption of the law, my activity has only increased. They call me and ask – I, of course, clearly define my positions. It is clear that my views remain unshakable and unequivocal. I can definitely say that I will continue to fight for the rights of LGBT people and against their discrimination in Russia, as well as to criticize the homophobic and discriminatory law.

I am sure that in the end, no one can simply take and simply erase a giant part of society. It’s unrealistic. LGBT people were, are and will be. Russia will come to the moment when same-sex marriages are legalized in the country, and the parade will take place along Nevsky Prospekt, as in many cities of Europe and the world. For example, this year LGBT Pride passed in Berlin, and a rainbow flag hung over the Bundestag. This is common practice. I believe that a rainbow flag will also fly over Smolny.

If I did not believe that there would be changes for the better in Russia, then I would not have stayed here. After this coming out, I feel a social responsibility towards LGBT people. They wrote to me and many thanked me for the fact that my activity gives them strength and inspiration. I think it’s really important for me to stay in Russia. I will act the same as I did before.