News (World)

“Gay night” partygoers beaten in the snow by Russian authorities

A plainclothes officer kicks and punches someone on the ground in video released on Russian media
A plainclothes officer kicks and punches someone on the ground in video released on Russian media Photo: Screenshot Russian media

Russian security forces swept into a party on Saturday night in the city of Tula, 100 miles south of Moscow, and dragged “feminine-looking” men out into the snow and beat them, according to Russian human rights organization OVD-Info.

Nine attendees were taken into police custody during the raid and charged with spreading LGBTQ+ propaganda.

The party at the Typography club wasn’t advertised as a “gay” gathering, but the description by promoters of a night of “love, openness and sexuality” was enough to attract authorities and get the event shut down.

In video posted by Russian media, a plainclothes officer wearing a mask throws a partygoer to the ground in the snow and punches and kicks him. A second man in military dress and a helmet watches.

“The security forces forced the party participants to lie on the floor,” OVD-Info wrote in a statement. “Those present were photographed, beaten, and threatened with being forced into the war in Ukraine.” 

Police then selected nine of the “most feminine-looking” men from the event, who were taken to a local police station, booked and charged with spreading LGBTQ+ propaganda.

One partygoer told Russian opposition media that he was forced to sing the official Tula region anthem.

“They grabbed me by the hair and asked who I was,” he said. “‘This is a Hero City! Sing the anthem!’ Thank God, I know the Tula anthem because I grew up here.”

The Saturday night raid was just the latest crackdown on LGBTQ+ people by President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian government.

Last week, two women were taken into custody after video they posted on social media revealed them kissing in a pizzeria not far from one of Putin’s palaces in the city of Krasnodar in southwest Russia. In addition to paying a fine equaling over $3000, the women, 19 and 25, were forced to repudiate LGBTQ+ behavior in a videotaped public apology.

Recently another woman was arrested and charged after she and her companion were accosted at a restaurant by an angry mob complaining about her rainbow-styled earrings and her companion’s Ukraine flag lapel pin. She, too, was charged with spreading LGBTQ+ propaganda.

In December, a crackdown in Moscow saw police raid a nightclub, a male sauna, and an LGBTQ+-inclusive bar in the Russian capital, with officers checking and photographing patrons’ IDs. In Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, a video distributed by local news outlet revealed riot police storming a dance club and ordering patrons out. 

A Russian federal watchdog group is investigating language app Duolingo for “distribution of information that promotes LGBT.”

A Russian rapper spent 15 days in jail for the LGBTQ+ crime of wearing only a sock at a party.

These and other actions and arrests — among many likely not documented — are made possible by twin levers of power, including laws banning dissent enacted since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and a growing number of laws targeting LGBTQ+ people and behavior, from 2013 legislation outlawing “gay propaganda” directed at minors to a recent Russian Supreme Court ruling at the urging of Putin’s Ministry of Justice declaring the so-called “international LGBT rights movement” a terrorist organization.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Right-wing family moved to Russia to escape LGBTQ+ people. Then Russia froze their bank accounts.

Previous article

Family accused of beating gay man until he was blind just had charges dropped

Next article