LGBTQ persecution in Russia: The artist Yulia Tsvetkova is being charged with disseminating pornography for posting sketches of vaginas online.
The 17-year-old Yulia Tsvetkova faces six years in prison for posting the sketches of vaginas on her online group Vkontakte. Founder of online group Vagina Monologues, which aims to destigmatise the female body, Tsvetkova is also an advocate for the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Amnesty International, the human rights organisation, condemned the case against her and stated that she was “expressing her views through art”.
Earlier this year in February, two gay men were arrested near Moscow and forcibly returned to Chechnya, a region accused of persecution against homosexuality. The Russian LGBT Network, a rights group, helped the two men, Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isayev, flee Chechnya in June 2020. They were reportedly tortured by Chechen police. According to the LGBT Network spokesman Tim Bestvet, the men were being pressured to refuse a lawyer.
“There have been cases when relatives brought back to Chechnya people that we had evacuated and then these people would die or, we can say, were probably murdered,” Bestsvet said.
Chechnya, a republic of Russia has been under fire for alleged LGBTQ+ persecution since 2017. Gay men claimed that they were tortured by law enforcement agencies. The LGBT Network reported a second wave of LGBTQ+ persecution which included two killings in 2019.
LGBTQ+ Rights In Russia
Russia is one of the world’s most difficult places to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
- While single people can adopt children regardless of sexual orientation, if a couple wants to adopt then they have to be a heterosexual married couple.
- A survey in 2015 revealed that 86 per cent of Russians said homosexuality should not be accepted by society.
- Marriages and civil unions of same-sex couples are not allowed.
- Gay pride parades are organised despite the lack of authorisation.
- In 2013, a law banning gay ‘propaganda’ was passed. The law banned the distribution of material that promotes “non-traditional sexual relations” among minors.
LGBTQ+ Persecution In Chechnya
LGBTQ+ rights in Chechnya have been a concern among human rights organisations. Torture, secret abductions, and killings of gay men have been reported in Chechnya since 2017. Reports of anti-gay purges and LGBTQ+ persecution have been dismissed by officials despite several men going public to speak about abductions and police brutality. According to Novaya Gazeta, from February 2017 till April 2017, over 100 men have been detained and tortured. The journalist who reported on the subject had to go into hiding.
A survivor of the LGBTQ+ persecution in 2017 said that-
“They tell the parents to kill their child. They say ‘Either you do it, or we will.’”
A spokesman for Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s leader called the article “absolute lies and disinformation.” The spokesman, Alvi Karimov had this chilling statement to share – “If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”
Another anti-gay purge began in December 2018, several gay men and women were detained. The LGBT Network believes that around 40 people were detained and that 2 were killed.
The Russian LGBT Network has worked on evacuating people from Chechnya who were threatened. By June 2017, the LGBT Network reported that 42 men had been evacuated to safer parts of Russia, but they were still at risk for being tracked down. By 2019, the LGBT Network assisted more than 140 gay Chechen people to immigrate to European nations and Canada.
Germany, Lithuania granted visas for entry to the countries based on humanitarian grounds. The Dutch government changed their policy so that people from Chechnya fleeing LGBTQ+ persecution could gain almost automatic “asylum-seeker” status.
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