UPDATE: On February 14, 2017, de facto authorities of the Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine released the activists, Grey-Violet and Victoria Miroshnichenko, after two weeks of enforced disappearance by local security services.
(Kyiv) – А Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activist and another person have been missing since January 31, 2017, in the separatist-controlled area of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, and are feared to be victims of enforced disappearances, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch is concerned that the de facto authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) have detained them and are refusing to acknowledge their detention.
Grey Violet, a Russian transgender person (also known as Oleg Vasilyev and Maria Shtern), and Victoria Miroshnichenko arrived in the DNR on January 31. They had planned to stage a public performance in Donetsk in support of the LGBT community and record it on video.
“It is distressing that no one has been able to find out where Grey Violet and Miroshnichenko are since they arrived in the DNR 10 days ago,” said Tanya Cooper, Ukraine researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Their sudden disappearance requires prompt and effective investigation.”