Wednesday, may 17, the world celebrated the international day against homophobia and transphobia. The date coincided with the release of the WikiLeaks informant Chelsea manning, change sex during incarceration. On this day, the US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft has condemned the oppression of the LGBT community in Chechnya, calling on Russian authorities to investigatereports of mass media about the torture and murder of gays in the country. Historian Irina Roldugin, meanwhile, shared his thoughts on how Russia was born and cultivated homophobia.

On the page in “LiveJournal” Tefft expressed regret that the Russian authorities “have so far refused to conduct a serious investigation” of press reports that “hundreds of homosexuals in Chechnya were victims of raids, torture in special camps and even murder”. “It is particularly disappointing that these statements are made against the police and other law enforcement agencies, most of those organizations whose duty is to protect citizens,” said the American diplomat.

Tefft also noted that, according to some, the oppression of gays – “the cultural norm in Chechnya and the natural order of things, while Chechen officials said that in Chechnya there is no gay”. “This justification for detention, torture and murder is unacceptable in any country in the world,” said the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation.

Tefft reminded that “the United States urged the Russian authorities to conduct an independent and credible investigation into the above-mentioned message” about the oppression of gays in the Chechen Republic. About this, we will remind, on April 18 was announced by permanent representative of the United States to the UN, Nikki Haley. According to Tefft, the us government will continue “in international forums” to encourage the Russian leadership to deal with the situation.

In connection with the International day against homophobia and transphobia, the American diplomat urged “to defend basic human rights and to respect our brothers and sisters whose beliefs or sexual orientation different from our own.” “Life in a world torn by hostility and intolerance is abhorrent to all,” concluded Tefft.

Historian: in relation to gays, Putin is guided by a logic similar to Stalin

Meanwhile, the historian Irina Roldugin notes that medieval Russia was much less homophobic than Europe of the same time, but then the situation changed. “In Russia, there was not a death penalty for “sodomy”, nor any major scandals and high-profile cases in Europe in the late XIX – early XX centuries”, – the expert explains in an interview on the website of DW.

According to the historian, “modern homophobic regime in Russia, with such ease, fueled by the authorities, began to take shape in the Stalin era and is closely associated with the prison-camp themes and hierarchies that prevailed behind the barbed wire”. “For the first time in this scale, people are faced with same-sex contact, caught in Stalin’s camps, and for the most part violent,” says Roldugin.

The historian recalled that Stalin returned to the article for sodomy in 1934. She “was introduced almost imperceptible to the public,” said the expert. “Mass arrests of homosexuals in Moscow and Leningrad was carried out by 4th secret-political Department of the OGPU. However, the power in the 1930-ies, not later, set the task to destroy all homosexuals or put them in camps, as in Nazi Germany. Ultimately, homosexuality has become another lever of pressure on the person that was widely used by the Soviet government,” said Roldugin.

According to the historian, Putin, although not introduced in the criminal code such articles, “guided by this logic”. “The law banning “gay propaganda” spreads the idea of homosexuality as something criminal-pathological, which need to be embarrassed that you need to hide. Even judging by open sources, we see how the increased crimes motivated by hatred of homosexuals,” – said the source DW.

According to the historian, “for the government homophobia remains a very convenient tool for the sublimation of hatred in the country.” “I would say that we have such a special power for which the mode of hatred is optimal for survival and retain their positions”, – summed up Roldugin.

In 1990 may 17 homosexuality was removed from the International classification of diseases. Since then, the memory of this event around the world celebrated the international day against homophobia and transphobia.

Recall that 1 April, “Novaya Gazeta” published an article that talked about the mass detentions and killings in Chechnya, of men suspected of sexual orientation. Then the publication reported about the allegedly existing in Argun secret prison for gays. According to the newspaper, subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, forcing to disclose information about other known representatives of the LGBT community. Later, the “Novaya Gazeta” wrote about the six secret prisons in which, according to her, illegally kept detained hundreds of citizens, including those suspected of homosexual orientation.

Last week the Minister of internal Affairs of Chechnya Ruslan Alkhanov said that the information about the oppression of individuals based on sexual orientation in the Republic was not confirmed, and threatened to press the courts for spreading false information. Earlier Chechen authorities deny even the existence of gays in the country, pointing out that it is impossible to prosecute those who do not.



On the international day against homophobia, the U.S. Ambassador reminded the authorities of the Russian Federation on the necessity to investigate allegations of harassment of gays in Chechnya 17.05.2017

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