Support The Moscow Times!

Gay Tango Instructor Found With Throat Cut in St. Petersburg

A lesbian tango teacher was found in St. Petersburg with her throat slashed in what police surmised could have been suicide and LGBT activists called a possible hate crime.

The body of Yekaterina Khomenko, 29, was found in her car in the city's north last week, local news website reported.

She had a nine-centimeter wound to the neck. The car's engine and lights were on, and the vehicle had several dents.

Police initially considered suicide or drug abuse as possible reasons for Khomenko's stabbing, local television said, citing her father Valery.

But the incident is being investigated as murder, said Friday. No motive or suspects were announced.

Regional news website speculated Monday that Khomenko's death could be linked to her being openly gay.

But it provided no backing for that theory beyond a wave of hostile comments posted on Khomenko's page on social network Vkontakte in the wake of her death. Comments are currently disabled on her page.

Khomenko was known in the St. Petersburg community as an instructor in queer tango, a same-sex rendition of the Argentinian dance originally known for strict gender roles for each pair of performers.

Anti-gay sentiment is on the rise in Russia, with homophobia fueled by a 2013 law against "homosexual propaganda" and the government's increased adherence to ultraconservative rhetorics.

Physical attacks on openly gay people are not uncommon, and at least two members of the LGBT community were murdered in 2013 in confirmed hate crimes, according to anti-xenophobia watchdog Sova.

… we have a small favor to ask.

As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just 2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.


Read more