Despite a number of charitable campaigns and viral news stories designed to raise awareness and spark resistance, as well as political pressure abroad, Russia continues to allow shocking human rights violations against LGBTs or anyone merely perceived to be LGBT.
Below are some of the most horrific instances of anti-gay enforcement in action. None of the aggressors below have or will ever be charged with a crime.
Last August, a video surfaced on the Putin-friendly Russian social network VK.com showing a gang of five men brutally beating a trans woman in the middle of a park in broad daylight. In the video above, she is referred to as a “homosexual,” kicked in the head and body, thrown onto the grown, and stripped of her clothes.
Gay activist Kirill Kalugin was attacked and punched by a group of paratroopers last August while standing in St. Petersburg’s Dvortsovaya Square with a rainbow flag in support of Russian LGBTs. As you can see in the video above, police intervened only to arrest Kalugin for the promotion of “homosexual propaganda,” allowing his attackers to walk away scot-free.
Ukrainian X-Factor contestant Alexander Bohun was captured by skinhead vigilante group Occupy Pedophilia in December 2013 and filmed being tortured by the extremist group’s leader, Maxim Martsinkevich. In the video above, Bohun has his head shaved, is forced to suck on a dildo and drink a cup of urine. “I was referred to as ‘pedophile,’ mocked, and forced to admit actions and desires that I have not committed in any circumstances,” he later said in a police report.
Members of the feminist punk rock protest group Pussy Riot were immediately beaten, whipped and pepper sprayed after staging an impromptu protest of Russian anti-gay legislation outside an Olympic venue in Sochi this February. Russian police forces even whipped and beat some who were not involved in the protest, including photographers and reporters, and subsequently arrested the Pussy Riot members involved.
Members of extremist vigilante group Occupy Pedophilia made headlines last summer when they began luring gay men to meet so they could bully, harass, and sometimes beat them — acts that are completely legal under Putin’s anti-gay regime. In the video above, Occupy Pedophilia members capture, taunt, kick, and pour urine on a 15-year-old boy they found in a park.
Two weeks after Russia’s legislation banning “gay propaganda” was passed, LGBT activists met in St. Petersburg to urge President Putin not to sign the bill into law. Demonstrators were soon met with brutal force, detained, and beaten by Russian riot police.
A video showing Occupy Pedophilia members torturing 20-year-old South African student David Smith surfaced on VK last November, prompting Smith’s immediate expulsion from Shukhov State Technological University. In the video, antagonizers can be seen humiliating Smith by shaving his head, smashing watermelon in his face and forcing him to perform fellatio on a beer bottle.
In March 2013, gay activist Artem Kalinin was assaulted and punched in the face during a television interview in Syktyvkar. Kalinin was discussing his attempt to get clearance to hold a Pride parade in the city when neo-Nazi activist Alex Kolegov lurched at him, bringing him to the ground. Kolegov was never arrested.
Last weekend, a group of homophobic thugs assembled to take down students performing in a dancing flashmob to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The performance was not related to the LGBT community in any way, but participants were attacked because they were merely perceived to be gay.
The granddaddy of all videos documenting human rights violations in Russia was compiled by Human Rights Watch early last month. The four and a half minute video above documents a number of acts that would be considered criminal offenses anywhere else in the world, from brutal assault to kidnapping and, in extreme cases, attempted murder. These things are all perfectly legal in Russia, so long as they are directed toward someone who is perceived to be “promoting nontraditional sexual relations.”