Support The Moscow Times!

Petitioners Arrested Protesting Chechnya's LGBT Crackdown

Benson Kua / Flickr

Five people have been arrested while delivering a petition calling for an investigation into the reported abuse of LGBT people in Russia's southern Chechen republic.

The group, who planned to hand in the petition at the Prosecutor General's Office in Moscow, had collected more than two million signatures from online activism platforms such as, All Out and Avaaz.

Nikita Safronov, a member of activist organization Open Russia, said that police arrested the group for holding “an unapproved demonstration.”

He told Russia's RBC news outlet that police officers arrived shortly after the activists left the city's Triumfalnaya Square.

The activists planned to call on Russia's Prosecutor General to investigate reports that gay men had been illegally detained, tortured and killed at the hands of the Chechen security services.

Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported in April that over 100 gay men had been held in secret prisons across the region, subjected to physical beatings and electric shocks.

The Kremlin has so far refused calls for a federal investigation, instead handing responsibility to the Chechen authorities. 

Officials in Grozny have also denied the claims, with a spokesperson for Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov claiming that gay people "simply do not exist" in the republic.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.