SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — A former contestant of the Ukrainian franchise of the British talent competition, “The X Factor,” was attacked and physically abused by Russian anti-gay extremists last week, according to prosecutors and the victim’s attorney.
Alexander Bohun, 24, had responded to a personal dating ad on Russian social media giant VK.com, and instead of meeting the person described in the ad, he was met by a group of ultra-nationalists responsible for several homophobic assaults on LGBT persons, including Maxim Sergeyevich Martsinkevich, founder of the anti-gay Russian group “Occupy pedophilia.”
Yuvlena Frolyak, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Sevastopol, confirmed Saturday that the ministry has opened a criminal investigation into Martsenkevich’s activities based on the criminal complaint filed by Bohun at the Leninsky District Police headquarters in Sevastopol this past week.
In a statement released by prosecutors in his hometown of Sevastopol, Bohun told police that Martsinkevich — known by his street nickname of “Tesak,” which translates as “The Cleaver” — had repeatedly beaten him and intimidated him with threats of violence, forcing him to make a series of false statements.
The encounter with Martsinkevich was recorded on video and later uploaded to the internet.
“I was referred to as “pedophile,” mocked, and forced to admit actions and desires that I have not committed in any circumstances, and I had to admit all that publicly,” Bohun said in a police report, according to a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office.
Bohun’s attorney, Elena Kherson, said she felt that Martsinkevich had broken Ukrainian federal law by accusing her client of a crime without any investigation or trial.
“There is no evidence of the involvement of Alexander Bohun, in the crimes of which Martsinkevich accused him, and most importantly, he is the true victim here, ” she said.
That video (since edited) showed Bohun claiming he was attempting to make contact with a male minor, being forcibly shaved in a reverse Mohawk by Martsinkevich who then paints Bohun’s head in rainbow colors, and being forced to drink a cup of what is alleged to be urine, after which Martsinkevich pours more urine over Bohun’s head.
Bohun is shown in the edited video with Martsinkevich making admissions of being gay and a pedophile, while holding a sex toy in which he uses as a faux microphone. Bohun’s naked upper body is displayed with two Jewish symbols and a derogatory slogan written in magic marker on his chest.
Martsinkevich tells his victim: “Basically I would not kill you because you’re gay. “I would send you to a concentration camp, to organize parades for gays there, dress you as a woman, and make you sing songs. I’d take good care of you.”
Martsinkevich alleges (in the video) that Bohun’s intended purpose was to meet and have sex with a “14-year-old” boy.
“You’re a Christian person? What do you remember the Bible says about it? It is a mortal sin! And how are you gay and Christian? We are against the fact that you slept with the boys,” Martsinkevich tells Bohun in the video.
Russian authorities initiated criminal proceedings earlier this month against Martsinkevich for several homophobic assaults on LGBT persons inside the Russian federation by his group, which included attacks on citizens from Ukraine, Iraq, and South Africa.
Martsinkevich has been charged under Part 1 of article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code, Incitement of ethnic and social hatred. The charge is punishable by a sentence of 3–5 years imprisonment.
Martsinkevich and his followers believe that being gay equates to being a pedophile, and boast via their social media pages that they are on the “hunt” for pedophiles to eliminate this “deviant filth” from Russian society.
His group has produced numerous videos on the Russian social media giant VK.com as well as YouTube, documenting violent and homophobic harassment of men and gay youth the group claims were seeking to have sex with boys.
The graphic videos often go viral and have also been used to humiliate gay teenagers who responded to false dating invitations from what they thought were other gay youth in chat rooms.