Support The Moscow Times!

Gay Couple Forced to Flee Russia Over Police Threats After Marriage Cancelled

Yevgeny Voytsekhovsky and Pavel Stotsko Pavel Stotsko / Facebook

Two gay Russian men whose marriage was accidentally recognized in Russia last week have reportedly been forced to leave the country after police pressure.

A Russian official stamped the passports of Pavel Stotsko and Yevgeny Voytsekhovsky with a new marital status in Moscow after the couple officially married in Copenhagen on Jan. 4. After widespread media attention, Russia’s Interior Ministry declared that their passports were invalid and said that the men would be fined for “intentionally damaging” them.

On Monday, police came to the couple’s apartment in the suburb of Lyubertsy and tried to break down the door, the OVD-info police monitoring group reported. The couple then began to receive threats and the electricity in their apartment was shut off.

“The police officers declared openly that they could not protect [the pair] from attacks from homophobically-minded citizens and organizations. This was a hidden threat,” said human rights activist Igor Kochetkov.

“Therefore the decision was made that for now, they must leave Russia,” he added.

Kochetkov, who helped the couple leave the country, has also started to receive threats, the opposition-leaning Dozhd TV news channel reported Monday.

… 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.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more