Russia’s ongoing institutionalized homophobia has taken the form in “movements” by neo-Nazis to lure gay male teens over social media with the intention of kidnapping , bullying, and publicly torturing them. Victims are left traumatized with many reportedly committing suicide following the attacks.
According to Eastern European LGBT advocacy group, Spectrum Human Rights Alliance (SHRA), the campaign is spearheaded by “infamous Russian ultranationalist and former skinhead, Maxim Martsinkevich,” known as “Cleaver.” The neo-Nazis claim they are fighting pedophilia though they exclusively target gay male teenagers.
Using the Russian equivalent of Facebook, VK.com, they lure their unsuspecting victims through personal ads. The teens then show up for what they think is a date, only to be captured, bullied and “often tortured while being recorded on video.” These atrocities are sometimes performed in the open before an indifferent and even supportive public.
In one of these videos, posted to YouTube, a group of neo-Nazis tease and bully a 15-year-old boy before kicking and pouring urine on him. The video cuts out after that, leaving the boy’s fate unknown. The video’s description notes, however, that all of his personal details including his name, parents’ names, address and school, were released to the general public and viewed by millions of Russians.
Unsurprisingly, police refuse to arrest any of the perpetrators as homophobia is government-sanctioned thanks to Russia’s odious anti-gay “propaganda” law. VK.com occasionally shuts down groups and profiles associated with these acts, but they simply start up again the next day. The site’s founder, Pavel Durov, resides in the U.S. and has yet to comment on these campaigns.