Russian Anime Convention Cancelled Following Death Threats, Protests

Anime has had a major resurgence worldwide in the last few years, but that doesn’t mean the medium is welcomed by everyone. As a new report details, fans at a Russian anime convention were forced home after the event was taken over by violent protesters.

According to OC Media, the convention in question took place in North Caucasus in late 2018. The event, which is called AniDag Festival, was set to begin the week of November 25 but found itself shuttered when more than 100 men gathered to stop the gathering.

The report details that 100-150 young men showed up at the theater booked to hold AniDag Festival and threatened to slaughter attendees. The men were said to have promised to “shoot” and “kill” fans for allegedly “corrupting” the youth of Daghestan.

The organizers of AniDag Festival says they were forcibly held in theater where the convention was booked. Participants felt it unsafe to leave the area, prompting the local police to be called. Saida Tuchalova, an organizer at the event, said authorities did show up to maintain public order but seemed to side with the protesters outside. In fact, Tuchalova says officers harassed fans by labeling the event an “LGBT gathering”. Before the event ended, the organizer was detained briefly by police but released in the evening without any charges being pressed.

Speaking with OC Media, Tuchalova says the ordeal with AniDag Festival began when a video hit social media in Daghestan of the event’s cosplayers. The video was uploaded to Instagram despite a request it be deleted, and it blew up. The controversy forced the event’s location to back out on its agreement to host AniDag Festival, and the event’s organizers have since taken action against the contract breach. The event plans to open its doors again this year with a tentative April schedule, and the convention has sought out help from Centre for Countering Extremism to aid its opening.

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On social media, fans have sent an outpouring of support to the organizers and attendees of AniDag Festival. Others in Russia are standing in solidarity with the targeted group as the convention prepares to come around this spring. So, if all goes well, the event will open its doors safely and freely to otakus just in time to celebrate One-Punch Man season two and more.

Are you surprised by this event's reception? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!