August 04, 2023

The Lady with the Tote Bag


The Lady with the Tote Bag
Pride. Chris Johnson, Unsplash.

21-year-old Alexandra has been slapped with a hefty fine by a Krasnodar court for, according to Mediazona, “tarnishing the reputation of the Russian army.”

Alexandra said the court showcased screenshots taken from her Instagram profile, which boasts a modest 180 followers. Among the featured materials is an image of a bag adorned with the phrase "No To War," a corresponding graffiti depiction, a photograph displaying a "Peace" sticker, and notably, a snapshot of a tote bag bearing the inscription, "Sex is cool but Putin's death is better."

Police officers made a surprise visit to Alexandra’s home on June 28 to inform her of a complaint made about her posts. She was then escorted to the police station and subjected to an examination of her tattoos, notably drawing attention to one on her shoulder that portrayed a cartoon canine donning a rainbow scarf with the phrase “Gay dog” featured above it. 

Alexandra recounted the officers' requests for her to reveal her tattoos by rolling up her T-shirt sleeves, afterwards translating the English phrases into Russian. Officers took photos of her face and tattoos.

The officers prohibited her from phoning a lawyer: “They said that 'if a lawyer shows up now, we will launch the whole legal machine. We will dig up more stuff there, and it will be even worse.'”

Ultimately, Alexandra found herself facing charges for two administrative offenses. She was fined R200,000 (approximately $2,116) for “promoting non-traditional sexual relations” as well as R30,000 (approximately $317) for “discrediting the Russian army.” The court was unable to clarify how the woman's tattoo breaches the law.

“He was saying some incoherent things: ‘Propaganda, propaganda’,” said Alexandra. “The lawyer asked him directly: ‘Explain to us where the violation is’. He said: ‘Well, I thought it was a violation.’” 
 

You Might Also Like

Unwritten Resolution
  • July 14, 2023

Unwritten Resolution

Nizhny Novgorod court shuts "LGBT Propaganda" case on local bookstore.
  • June 14, 2023

"Go Defend Your Homeland"

In Chechnya, law enforcement uses threats and blackmail to send LGBT persons, drug users, and "disloyal" citizens to war.
Anti-LGBTQ Law Has Broad Ripples
  • December 11, 2022

Anti-LGBTQ Law Has Broad Ripples

President Vladimir Putin signed a law against LGBTQ "propaganda." Is this only a homophobic act? Or is it part of something bigger?
Homophobia Codified
  • August 30, 2022

Homophobia Codified

The Russian state is preparing to pass new laws banning "gay propaganda" after a recent book led to public outrage.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 
At the Circus (bilingual)

At the Circus (bilingual)

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
Russian Rules

Russian Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955