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Russian man stabbed, trampled to death amid rise in anti-gay sentiment

Monday, June 3, 2013
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PETROPAVLOVSK, Kamchatska, Russia — The killing of a 39-year-old airport deputy administrator last Wednesday was fueled by the victim’s sexual orientation, Russian police officials told LGBTQ Nation on Monday.

According to investigators, three suspects from village of Zaporozhye, who are under arrest, stabbed and trampled their victim to death last week, then placed the victim’s body in his car and set it on on fire.

The attackers said they killed the victim “because their fellow villager had a non-traditional sexual orientation,” using a Russian euphemism for gay. The victim died at the scene from his injuries.

Then the suspects tried to conceal the crime by putting the body in his car, pouring gasoline on the vehicle and setting it on fire, according to investigators. The victim’s name has not yet been released.

This murder comes less than a month after a 23-year-old gay man was tortured and killed in the southern city of Volgograd after revealing he was gay.

Nikolai Alexeyev, Russia’s most prominent LGBT activist, said that the rise in numbers of homophobic violence is being fueled by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s conservative agenda.

Alexeyev noted that the murder was an example of rising violence against the Russian LGBTQ community, which he and other activists fear is being “sanctified” by a bill backed by Putin’s allies in parliament that would ban spreading “homosexual propaganda” among minors.

He said it is part of a “homophobic policy” that is giving Russians “carte blanche” to attack gays.

“Now the deputy director of an airport has been killed in Kamchatka. Because he was gay. And it’s going to get worse,” Alexeyev said.

After the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia. However, an independent poll last month by the Russian Levada Center last month found 38 percent of Russians believe LGBT people are “sick” and require treatment; 13 percent said they should face prosecution.

While Putin has publicly stated that Russia does not discriminate against LGBT people, he has championed socially conservative values and the moral authority of the Russian Orthodox Church during his new term, which began a year ago.

The news of this second attack came as Alexei Levchenko, a spokesman for Olga Golodets — Russia’s deputy prime minister — announced Saturday that a constitutional amendment restricting foreign adoptions to “traditional” families would be submitted to parliament in its fall session. Putin said last month that a French law allowing same sex marriage went against traditional Russian values.

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