Metro Weekly

Russian Police Raid “Gay” Party, Beat “Feminine-Looking” Men

Nine men were charged with spreading "LGBT propaganda" following a nightclub raid where Russian police beat "feminine-looking" patrons.

Russian Police – Photo: Miklmakmagnitka, Dreamstime

Russian police raided a party believed to be promoting “propaganda” in favor of the international LGBTQ movement, which has been declared an “extremist organization” by the Russian Supreme Court.

As reported by The Telegraph, security officers entered the party, held at Typography, a club in Tula, 100 miles south of Moscow. They then dragged “feminine-looking” men out into the snow before beating them, based on information from the Russian human rights organization OVD-Info. 

The gathering was not advertised as a “gay” or “LGBTQ” party, but the description by promoters of a night of “love, openness, and sexuality” attracted the attention of authorities.

In a video posted by Russian media, a plainclothes officer wearing a mask is shown throwing an attendee to the ground and punching and kicking him. A second man, dressed in a military uniform, watches.

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

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

One attendee told Russian opposition media 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.”

While homosexuality is technically not criminalized in Russia, the government under President Vladimir Putin has cracked down on open expressions of homosexuality and LGBTQ identity, claiming that they are unhealthy influences being pushed by Western societies to “corrupt” the Russian people and weaken the country.

In 2013, Russian lawmakers passed a law prohibiting the spread of “LGBT propaganda” among minors, which dovetailed nicely with Putin’s efforts to curry favor with religious figures within the Russian Orthodox Church in order to retain his popularity.

Nine years later, the law was expanded to prohibit the spread of any LGBTQ-related information, even among adults. 

In political ads, Putin has cast gay men as “effeminate” and a threat to the country’s stability, as well as the stability of families. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Russian government has also viewed LGBTQ venues as possible breeding grounds for political opposition to the war and has passed laws prohibiting the spread of any information that does not paint Russian troops or military operations in a favorable light.

Following the Russian Supreme Court’s declaration that LGBTQ organizations could be deemed part of an “extremist” movement, police have raided nightclubs, bars, and saunas catering to LGBTQ individuals in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities.

Videos from the raids show young people being forced to sing the Russian national anthem as police look on. In one instance, a Russian rapper was sentenced to 15 days in jail for wearing a sock at a “nearly naked” party at a Moscow nightclub, even though the party was not LGBTQ-themed. 

Authorities have pursued other prosecutions under the anti-“propaganda” law with an almost religious kind of zeal.

Last week, two women were arrested for kissing each other in a pizzeria in the city of Krasnodar. The women were forced to pay a fine of over $3,000 and repudiate LGBTQ behavior in a videotaped public apology.

Earlier this month, a woman was arrested and charged with spreading “LGBT propaganda” for wearing rainbow-colored earrings. Russian authorities have prosecuted another woman for displaying a rainbow Pride flag on her Instagram account.

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