Russian LGBT activists relocate more than 40 homosexuals out of Chechnya

Igor Kochetkov, chairman of the Russian LGBT network, who is involved in legal aid for Chechen homosexuals and assists in relocating them from the republic, told Current Time news outlet  that since the publication of Novaya Gazeta’s investigations regarding the persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya, more than 80 people have approached them for help.

“Since the first of April, we started receiving requests. Already more than 80 people have approached us. Thus far, of them more than 40 people who we have helped are located outside of the Chechen Republic. I can say that thus far 9 of the people who we evacuated have left Russia. That is, the process of their evacuation from Russia, which is absolutely necessary, has started, and we are very happy about this,” Kochetkov recounted.

However, during the formulation of documents, the organization encountered bureaucratic problems which prevent the persecution-fleeing homosexuals from receiving asylum.

“Western countries have no procedures for this situation. And they are naturally very afraid of receiving obscure refugees, or terrorists, God forbid, and so the process of acquiring visas barely squeaks through, to be honest,” Kochetkov said.
Yesterday Russian ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova gave the Investigative Committee information on several missing gays who were subjected to persecution in the Chechen Republic. The head of the “Network” is of the opinion that the persecution of gays in Chechnya and in Russia as a whole is related to the law adopted in 2013 to “prohibit the propagation of non-traditional sexual relations”.

“In this way the Federal authorities have effectively led everyone to understand that homosexual people in Russia are second-class people, because the law prohibits talking about homosexual people as socially equal,” Kochetkov said. “Chechnya is a part of Russia. And the fact that in Russian territory, in the territory of a country which is a member of the Council of Europe, things are possible which have not been in Europe since World War II, must, of course, make all citizens think – gays, non-gays, and people who hold various posts in Russia”.

On the first of April, Novaya Gazeta published an investigation on the persecution and killing of homosexual men in the Chechen Republic. Anonymous sources in the law enforcement and legal organizations informed Novaya Gazeta of more than a hundred men who had been arrested on suspicion of homosexual relations. According to the newspaper, at least three men were killed. Vladimir Putin promised to ask the prosecutor general and head of the Russian Interior Ministry to follow up on the situation. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and his press secretary Alvi Karimov said that there are no homosexuals in Chechnya.

  LGBT, Russia, Chechnya