FAQ on Russian LGBT Network and gays in Chechnya

rainbow flag—photo by Benson Kua

This FAQ is a revised version of a post I wrote in April about the persecution and killing of gay men in Chechnya and efforts to help them. A message I received today reminded me that there’s still a lot of education to be done. The message was along the lines of “Russia is full of hackers and scammers, so we can’t trust things based in Russia. Therefore Westerners should only support Western charities.” If everyone followed that reasoning, we’d have 40 more dead gay Chechens on our hands right now.
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Chechnya: Part of ‘a global fight for our rights as queer people’

Lately, one of my favorite times of day is checking out all the blogs that are talking about ways to save the lives of LGBT Chechens. Back before the internet, few of us would have known about what’s going on in Chechnya, and fewer of us would have been in a position to help. But that’s all changed. We may not be able to change government policies or social prejudices in one fell swoop, but we can provide real, tangible assistance to many of the men who’ve been swept up in Chechnya’s anti-gay purge — men who would have had no place to turn only a few years ago. Here are a few excerpts from the blogs I visited this morning. … Read more

Heartbreaking Video Drives Home the Terror Faced by Gay Chechens

digitalSTAGE has created this heartbreaking short play, Unchechen, based on news reports and interviews with survivors of the attempted purge of homosexuals in Chechnya. It consists of monologues by a father and his son, who has been arrested on suspicion that he is gay. Watch it, then write a letter or sign a petition to express your concerns to Chechen and Russian authorities. … Read more

Forty gay men saved from Chechnya purge by Russian LGBT Network | NPR & PinkNews

The Russian LGBT Network is saving the lives of gay/bi Chechens, and those perceived to be gay. In an audio interview with NPR, the network’s communications director talked about the dozens of men they have helped evacuate from Chechnya over the past month or so, as well as the Russian government’s inaction. She said that international pressure has led to some minimal response, and that more pressure could help. So get involved! … Read more

From Russia with hate: How Putin’s anti-LGBT crackdown led to the persecution of gay men in Chechnya | Salon.com

Are you trying to understand the situation faced by LGBT people in the Russian Federation? A recent article from Salon.com explains the context for the persecution of gay men, and men perceived to be gay, in Chechnya and how the Russian government has fostered an increasingly hostile climate toward LGBT people in recent years. … Read more

Igor Kochetkov of Russian LGBT Network: “We Must Rescue All Those We Can Rescue and Help Them Leave Russia” | Legal Dialogue

Igor Kochetkov, chairman of the Russian LGBT Network, talked with the Russian civil society website Legal Dialogue about the persecution of gay Chechens in an interview published yesterday. “We are currently in touch with some 75 people who have contacted us over the past three weeks,” he told the publication. “We are providing our help and assistance to 30 of them. This means that one way or another these people have already left the territory of the Chechen Republic. Around 15 people, who sought us out earlier, have already left Russia.” He described the situation as a “crime against humanity.” … Read more

About the evacuation of gay men from Chechnya — Meduza

If you only read one article about the Russian LGBT Network’s work for LGBT Chechens, read this one from Meduza. Four to five people apply to leave Chechnya every day on a twenty-four-hour hotline. The LGBT Network hopes to send refugees to other countries where they will be granted asylum; network employees are involved in negotiations with the embassies of Western countries. Journalist Elena Kostyuchenko learned the details of the evacuation from the organization’s employees. She also spoke with those who have already managed to leave. … Read more