Russia: LGBT activists demonstrate against the persecution of gay men in Chechnya
More than 300 brave souls gathered in St. Petersburg, Russia on Wednesday to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and to denounce the persecution of gay men in Chechnya.
The demonstrators also called on Western governments to provide asylum for LGBT people fleeing Chechnya.
It was reported yesterday that although Lithuania has provided asylum to two gay men from Chechnya, the U.S. has denied visas to applicants.
Demonstration organizer Yosef Kristian said:
“It’s difficult to draw any conclusions in our context, when so much depends on the political will of those in power. But… our strategy is ’constant dripping wears away a stone’ and today a little chip of that stone fell off.”
Johnny Dzhibladze of Coming Out LGBT, Igor Kochetkov of the Russian LGBT Network, Alexey Sergeev of the Alliance of Straights and LGBT for Equality and Yelena Kostyuchenko of Novaya Gazeta also spoke at the rally.
Although Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have agreed with an investigation into Chechnya’s concentration camps for gay and bisexual men, the country’s president Ramzan Kadyrov (right) has denied that the abduction, torture and murder of gay men is taking place. Kadyrov has agreed to cooperate with the Russian investigation while claiming that there are no LGBT people in Russia.