At the end of January, a blogger called Bloodseeker raided Yandex.Music. On one of his anonymous channels, "Direct Force Actions", he urged subscribers to write complaints to the Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor's Office, and Alexander Khinstein, demanding that the administration of Yandex be held responsible for the "homosexual propaganda", including among minors, promoted in their service "Yandex.Music".
The author of the telegram channel demanded that this content be blocked in Russia, "the creators of the content be identified and brought to justice for "promoting homosexuality", as well as that Yandex and the creators of the allegedly harmful content be fined.
"Queercast" has been airing since February 2019 on all major platforms and is labeled "18+." It can still be streamed on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Podcasts, VK and other platforms.
Here's Yandex's official response to our inquiry:
"We received a notification from Roskomnadzor dated 09.02.2023 stating that access to your podcast at https://music.yandex.ru/album/9780784 must be restricted due to distribution of illegal information.
Cause of action: part 7 of Article 15.1 of the Federal Law "On information, information technologies and information protection", by decision of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs dated 02.02.2023 № 2023-01-30-4326-VN.
In accordance with the requirements of Russian legislation, we are obliged to restrict user access to the said content on the service within 24 hours. All details can be found on the Registry's website: https://398-fz.rkn.gov.ru. You can also contact Roskomnadzor directly for clarification".
Bloodseeker previously wrote complaints regarding "Queerfest", an LGBTQ+ culture festival that Coming Out hosted offline in St. Petersburg from 2009 to 2022.
"We will definitely appeal Roskomnadzor's decision, based on which Yandex chose to remove our "Queercast". We consider this decision to be contrary even to the legislation of the Russian Federation, which has now been adopted, since the reason for including the podcast in the register of domains containing information prohibited for distribution is listed to be the distribution of said information among minors. "Coming Out' does not conduct any activities among minors, we have no programs aimed specifically at this demographic," stated Ksenia Mikhailova, the lawyer and advocate of Coming Out.
In addition, Coming Out considers the legislation, which allows Roskomnadzor to make such decisions regarding LGBT content, unconstitutional and not subject to enforcement, including by courts.