15 years ago, on May 27, 1993, The Criminal Code in Russia was adjusted. Voluntary homosexual relations between men were decriminalized. Criminal penalties for gay relations were abolished.
The fate of many thousands of people was affected according to the Article #121 - Igor Kon writes in his book "Moonlight at dawn. Faces and Masks same-love".
In the 1930s to the 1980s every year about 1000 men were condemned and sent to prison. In the end of 1980s the number of condemned was reduced. According to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, in 1989 under article 121 in Russia were sentenced 538 people, in 1990 - 497 men, in 1991 - 462 men, in the first half of 1992 - 227 people.
This event happened in Russia in early 1993 was described by Vladimir Kirsanov in his book "69 Russian gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.": "When Russia abolished article # 121, it was a surprise for all who deal with criminal law in Russia. Article abolished in a large package ..."
There were so many corrections that they were approved in those days by experts, as they say, without looking at them. So the amendment about the repeal for the punishment of "sodomy" went through several instances and finally adopted by the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation, together with other amendments.
The adoption of this amendment was almost not noticed. The document has emerged among the others printed in small font in Russian newspaper "Rossiyskaya Gazeta."
In spring 1993, Masha Gessen received a small grant to travel to Russia and to address the issue of the release of these people. The large list of prisoners was received from Valery Klimov, a human rights defender from Nizhny Tagil. It was relevant to the rehabilitation of gay men who were imprisoned, as well as all those who have been subjected to homosexual abuse in detention.
In Russia Gessen immediately sent telegrams to all the colonies and prisons, where, according to that list, people were convicted on the Article 121. As a result, it became clear that much of that data was obsolete or not correct.
"Distribution of telegrams, where information had been consistent with reality, had had a positive effect ...", - remembers Gessen.
Translation by www.gay-tour.ru