AWARDS
Arts 2020

Yulia Tsvetkova is the 2020 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards Arts Fellow

16 Apr 2020
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Yulia Tsvetkova is a Russian artist and activist promoting women’s well-being and LGBTQ awareness. 

Her work has brought about positive change in discussions towards body positivity and gender stereotypes, however this acclaim has made her a target. 

In March 2019, her youth arts festival was cancelled after officials accused Tsvetkova of illegally trying to hold a gay pride event under the guise of a youth theatre festival. 

In 2018 she began a campaign promoting body positivity which resulted in her being named a suspect in a criminal pornography distribution case. If convicted, Tsvetkova could face six years in prison.  

She is currently living under house arrest; banned from communicating with anyone except her mother and her lawyer. Receiving death threats regularly, Yulia fears for her family’s safety.

“For the last year, I’ve been hearing that my work means nothing. That women do not need rights, that body positivity is a pornography that corrupts children and ruins their lives. That I should go to jail and face a sentence, that I should be murdered and I should be burned at the stake because I am a witch. 

It is pretty hard to keep the focus of why whatever I was doing was important. 

The award pretty much reminds me that not everything is that bad. That there are still people who believe that [what I do] is important. For me, it changes pretty much everything. So thank you.” 

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