What a seriously f’d up country. Russian anti-gay extremists, emboldened by (and many suspect, in cahoots with) the Putin government’s crackdown on gay and trans Russians, have reportedly begun kidnapping and beating gay men, especially teenage boys, with ads on gay social networks.
When the boys and men show up for what they think is a sex date, they’re held hostage, abused, have urine poured on them, and then beaten.
The Russian group is calling itself “Occupy Pedophilia.” And the videos they’re posting online, ostensibly of young gay men and boys that they’ve entrapped, and then beaten, are chilling.
They claim, in many of the videos, to be catching “pedophiles” by engaging in online chats on gay-oriented Web sites, and then posing as teenage kids looking for sex with someone over 18, or they pose as men looking for sex with someone under 18. They then kidnap the either boy or man when he arrives for the “date.”
Here’s is a short clip of one of the videos that they posted online, showing them abducting and beating a young man. In this case, they lure a 26 year old into supposedly meeting up with a 15 year old:
UPDATE: The folks at Google got back to me, and fixed the problem – the video below was mistakenly taken down, as someone apparently misunderstood the intent, thinking it was an anti-gay video (it is, of course a video about people who are anti-gay, but our intent in posting it is to fight against anti-gay bias by exposing it). Google put the video behind an age-wall, which is totally understandable. Kudos for fixing this promptly.
While they claim to be anti-pedophile, they clearly link “gay” and pedophile together, and in at least one case, they appear to have kicked and poured urine on a 15 year old boy who thought he was meeting up with an older man. That boy is clearly not a pedophile. According to a human rights group monitoring the situation, the group’s usual modus operandi is to lure the child, rather than an adult, for the abduction and torture.
They post photos and video of the young men that they claim to have ensnared, and abducted, on a Russian social media network, VK.com. Here’s one such photo post. The boy is holding a dildo – they routinely torment their victims with sex toys:
Towleroad was one of the first to report on this travesty a few days ago. They cited an Eastern European LGBT rights group, Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, which explained the origin of the vigilante kidnapping gangs:
Infamous Russian ultranationalist and former skin head, Maxim Martsinkevich, known under the nickname ‘Cleaver’… spearheaded a countrywide campaign against LGBT teens using a popular social network VK.com to lure unsuspected victims through personal ads.
Mr. Martsinkevich’s numerous and enthusiastic followers started two projects: ‘Occupy Pedophilyaj’ and ‘Occupy Gerontilyaj’.
Allegedly they are trying to identify and report pedophiles using these ‘movements’. In reality, over 500 online groups have been created inside VK.com social network in order to organize illegal militant groups in every Russian city. Oddly enough their idea of fighting pedophiles targets exclusively male teenagers who respond to the same-sex personal ads and show up for a date. Captured victims are bullied and often tortured while being recorded on video.
These self-proclaimed “crime fighters” perform their actions under the broad day light, often outside and clearly visible to general public that indifferently passes by or even commend them. Video recordings of bullying and tortures are freely distributed on the Internet in order to out LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends. Many victims were driven to suicide, the rest are deeply traumatized.
So far Russian police took no action against these “movements” even though Russian criminal code was clearly violated and despite numerous complaints from parents, victims and LGBT activists.
Social network VK.com intermittently shuts down selected groups and profiles only to allow them to be re-open on the next day.
Currently, the founder of VK.com, Pavel Durov, resides in the US and so far has not released any comments.
If he’s in the US, then he’s under US legal jurisdiction, at least in so far as the degree to which the human rights groups might argue that he’s permitting his social media network to be used by what could be described as organized crime.
Here’s a second violent excerpt of the Russian vigilantes abducting and beating a man they call “Pedophile #4.” This is one is perhaps more shocking than the previous one – at one point you can hear what sounds, to me at least, like a taser being used.
Enough is enough. Harvey Fierstein and Nancy Goldstein were both within their rights to invoke Nazi Germany. I don’t have the family history they have in the region (though the Nazis did try to execute some of my relatives in Greece). I am, however, intimately familiar with the workings of the Soviet Union, which I studied in depth in graduate school, and visited in (ironically) 1984. It was a terrible police state where I watched new-found Russian friends taken away by the secret police for the simple crime of having befriended an American. Everyday Russians would squeeze against us on buses and whisper in our ears, afraid to be seen speaking to a foreigner, let alone a westerner.
This is why we’re boycotting Russia. And Russian vodka. And Stolichnaya. And it’s why we need a major response to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014. The Russians, like the Nazis, have always enjoyed using the Olympics to paint themselves with a veneer of respectability.
But sadly for the Russian authorities, they’re not the only ones who know how to use social media in order to capture and destroy their prey.