Metro Weekly

Openly Gay Journalist Pavel Lobkov Attacked in Russia

Former TV anchorman Pavel Lobkov posted that he was beaten in downtown Moscow in a possible homophobic attack.

Pavel Lobkov’s injuries from recent attack – Photo: Pavel Lobkov, via Facebook

A gay Russian journalist said he was attacked in Moscow.

Pavel Lobkov, a longtime anchorman and journalist who most recently worked for the television channel TV Rain (Dozhd TV), did not provide details about the incident, but implied in a December 30 post to his Facebook page that the attack may have been driven by homophobia. 

Lobkov did not say whether he had contacted police, reports Meduza. However, reporting a homophobic attack to authorities, even as the victim, could be problematic in Russia, given the recent Supreme Court ruling that declared the international LGBTQ movement to be an “extremist” organization.

Under Russian law, anyone who admits to being part of an extremist organization can be punished with up to 12 years in prison.

According to RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty’s Russian Service, the Ministry of Justice for the Stavropol Territory recently responded to an inquiry about coming out by saying the act will be equated to “participation in the international extremist LGBT community” — showing how Russian authorities could potentially choose to prosecute LGBTQ people, even victims of hate-motivated crimes. 

Russia also has two laws prohibiting the spread of so-called “LGBT propaganda” on the books.

One, passed in 2013, prohibits the dissemination of information about LGBTQ identity or “nontraditional sexual relations” to minors. The other, passed in 2022, expanded that law to apply to all citizens and effectively outlawed public expression of LGBTQ identity, and both facially-neutral and positive depictions of LGBTQ people in media.

In his post, Lobkov included pictures showing blood on his face and large bruises on his arm and hand, indicating that he had been severely beaten in the attack. 

“And I don’t have any other New Year’s gift for you. The broken mug of a ‘faggot’ who was beaten in the yard in Patriarch’s [Ponds],” he wrote.

According to The Moscow Times, Patriarch’s Ponds is an affluent residential area with a large pond and garden, about a 35-minute walk from Red Square.

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