UPDATE, Mon. August 5, 2013: Reports are now coming in that at least one of the gay teens who've been entrapped and beaten by Russian skinheads has died of his injuries.
It just keeps getting worse for our LGBT siblings in Russia.
In a country where citizens, nonprofit organizations, and even tourists can be fined or jailed for expressing public support of any kind for the LGBT community, reports are now emerging that private citizens are taking the government's persecution of LGBT people into their own hands -- creating fake social network profiles and bogus online personal ads, tricking the men (mostly teens) who respond into showing up for a date, then torturing them. Publicly. And the police are letting it happen.
Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, a group working on behalf of LGBT people in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, has this horrifying report:
Infamous Russian ultranationalist and former skin head, Maxim Martsinkevich, known under the nickname "Cleaver" (or "Tesak" in Russian) spearheaded a country wide campaign against LGBT teens using a popular social network VK.com to lure unsuspected victims through personal ads. Mr. Martsinkevich's numerous and enthusiastic followers started two projects: "Occupy Pedophilyaj" and "Occupy Gerontilyaj". Allegedly they are trying to identify and report pedophiles using these "movements".
In reality, over 500 online groups have been created inside VK.com social network in order to organize illegal militant groups in every Russian city. Oddly enough their idea of fighting pedophiles targets exclusively male teenagers who respond to the same-sex personal ads and show up for a date. Captured victims are bullied and often tortured while being recorded on video. These self-proclaimed "crime fighters" perform their actions under the broad day light, often outside and clearly visible to general public that indifferently passes by or even commend them. Video recordings of bullying and tortures are freely distributed on the Internet in order to out LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends. Many victims were driven to suicides, the rest are deeply traumatized.
So far Russian police took no action against these "movements" even though Russian criminal code was clearly violated and despite numerous complaints from parents, victims and LGBT activists. Social network VK.com intermittently shuts down selected groups and profiles only to allow them to be re-open on the next day. Currently, the founder of VK.com, Pavel Durov, resides in the US and so far has not released any comments.
The group also released this video of a gay teen in Moscow who was lured into the kind of trap described above. It shows him being "bullied, tortured and sprayed with urine in the broad day light."
Watch it at your own risk. You don't need to know a word of Russian to understand how terrified and humiliated this poor young man is.
Mortified? You should be. Want to show solidarity with the Russian LGBT community? Start by boycotting Russian vodka, caviar, and other products, and demanding that gay bars and LGBT-owned restaurants in your area do the same.
If you're on Twitter, tweet VK.com founder Pavel Durov and tell him to crack down on the entrapment of Russian LGBT people on his social network.
And then tweet the corporate sponsors of the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held just over six months from now in Sochi, Russia. Ask them whether they support Russia's persecution of LGBT people and demand that they speak out against that country's human rights atrocities.
Sponsors include the following companies (click for links to their Twitter profiles):
Russian flag graphic courtesy of the phenomenal Scott Wooledge of Memeographs Studio, who was kind enough to design it for me when I had no idea how. Click here for the Memeographs Facebook page.
UPDATE: Reader and fluent Russian speaker Sai took the time to summarize the dialogue in the video, along with timestamps. Sai's summary is posted on Google Plus, and reproduced below with permission.
1:00: He's 15.
2:00: Female gets kid to say that yes, he had gone there to meet "Grandpa* Dima" to have sex in return for money. He travelled to a different city for this.
3:00: Female claims they're also 15 yo.
3:40: Guy says "Grandpa Dima" offered him 5-15k (rubles?) for the sex.
5:00: They ask if he had a mom & dad, whether he was forced to have sex as a child, etc. He says yes and no respectively.
5:40: They talk about other ways to make money.
6:00: He says he's in 11th grade. They express surprise given his age. He says that he gets shitty grades.
7:00: They start asking whether he woke up one day wanting to be a buttfucker, why he doesn't like girls, whether he was abused / recruited, etc.
8:00: He says he's bi, not gay, but no he's not attracted to the female talking with him. (They ask whether he'd sleep with her, etc.)
8:30: Female asks his name. He says it's Sergei Academiovitz Mikhailovich. (Approx.)
8:50: They ask him what school he goes to, whether his mom knows what he does.
9:10: He says his mom doesn't know where he is.
9:40: Guy in ski mask says he had a bad childhood, and his parents died, but hasn't stooped as low as the guy in middle. Says he doesn't hurt others, tries to make something of himself, etc.
11:00: Guy in ski mask talks about how he's giving up his ass for so little money (~20k), and that he shouldn't do so, should value himself higher, etc.
12:20: Guy off camera asks if he likes fucking other guys in the ass. He says no. He says he's just doing it for money.
12:35: Female asks if he doesn't want his schoolmates etc to find out. (Sounds like a not very veiled threat.)
13:30: Female in white w/ pink backpack starts berating him for selling his ass at 15.
15:30: They ask who he's friends with in school, whether they know what he does, ask him to say their names and say hello.
15:50: Guy off camera asks if he's attractive, whether he'd let him fuck for money, etc. He says no. They offer more money (100k, etc). They make fun of his refusal (e.g. "oh, he only has a set price of 20k, he won't take more").
16:40: Guy off camera asks what he'd say to his mom.
16:50: Guy off camera asks if he's active or passive (top/bottom); he says he's "universal" (versatile).
17:22: Guy off camera asks what he'd do if it wasn't them, but worse people who'd found him, stole his phone, called up his mom to tell her about it, etc.
18:42: Guy off camera asks if "Grandpa Dima" was the first; he says yes.
19:00: Guy off camera asks if he knows / supports their organization ("Malahov"?), whether they're doing the right thing, etc.
19:40: Guy off camera asks if he's heard of "urine therapy".
20:00: Female offers that they (?) baptize him with urine and let him go, then pours something on him from the beer bottle.
It sounds like they're attempting a reverse version of To Catch A Predator.
* "dadja" means grandpa, but also has the sense of "Daddy" in English (i.e. sugar daddy)