The NYT has a blockbuster story today about the growing anti-gay pogrom in Russian Chechnya.
Chechen authorities, who claim that homosexuality doesn’t exist in Chechnya — a popular trope among anti-LGBT regimes — have been arresting and/or kidnapping, and torturing, gay men across the region. One hundred gay men have reportedly been ensnared in the crackdown so far, and three have died.
The Chechen government, led by the pro-Kremlin Ramzan A. Kadyrov, has adopted a technique used previously by its Russian overlords: They entrap young gays via online chat rooms. When the gay men show up at someone’s apartment for a secret meet-up, they are accosted by the authorities who detain them for anywhere from a day to several weeks. They are then hooked up to electrodes and interrogated.
Vladimir Putin’s government did something similar a few years back, when it used neo-Nazi gangs to kidnap and torture gay men. The abductions were filmed and then posted on Russian social media, in order to extort and humiliate the men. The Russian neo-Nazis claimed to have kidnapped 1,500 men. It was only after western media began to publicize the story in the UK and the US that the Russian government cracked down on the gangs.
As it did during the neo-Nazi kidnappings, the Russian government is denying that any anti-gay crimes are occurring in Chechnya. More from the NYT:
In a televised meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Wednesday, Mr. Kadyrov characterized as “libelous” news reports that the security services in Chechnya had been persecuting gay men.
And on Thursday, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told journalists that the Russian authorities had found no evidence that the Chechen police had arrested gay men.
The Russian government also denied the neo-Nazi kidnappings, even though dozens of videos of the crimes were online, in which the kidnappers openly confessed to their crimes.
Trump UN ambassador Nikki Haley criticized the Chechen crackdown, but failed to mention Russia in her statement. Chechnya is a part of Russia.