Metro Weekly

Russian newspaper publishes names of 27 Chechen anti-gay purge victims

Chechen security officials allegedly detained and executed the victims back in January

A police station in Chechnya – Photo: Lily Lin, via Wikimedia.

A Russian newspaper has published the names of 27 men who are currently unaccounted for and are thought to have been executed as part of an ongoing purge directed at gay and bisexual men in the republic of Chechnya.

Novaya Gazeta, which was the first to report on rumors of the purge back in April, cites two unidentified sources who tell the paper that the 27 men were shot by Chechen security officials in the city of Grozny on the night of Jan. 25.

The paper claims a source within the Interior Ministry provided the newspaper with the names of suspected victims, reports Attitude magazine. Thus far, journalists have been unable to locate any of the victims, who range in age from 18 to 33.

Novaya Gazeta reports that the death toll from the execution may be as high as 56, and that victims’ bodies were “taken to various cemeteries, including Christian ones, where they were buried in hastily dug graves.”

The newspaper claims it decided to publish the names following the failure of the Russian government to seriously investigate reports of the kidnapping, detention, and torture of hundreds of gay men. It also says it passed along the names of those missing men to the Russian Investigative Committee, which is tasked with overseeing the probe into the alleged anti-gay purge.

The paper previously reported that some of those detained were not killed by security guards, but by family members after they were released from detention as part of “honor killings.”

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has repeatedly denied that there has been any such persecution of gay or bisexual men, saying that such people do not exist in the republic.

GLAAD has previously joined other LGBTQ advocacy organizations in calling for U.S. President Donald Trump to acknowledge and condemn the reports of persecution, but Trump failed to raise the issue in a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin at last week’s G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com