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Men have been apparently vanishing from the region of Chechnya over the past week and a Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta knows why. On April 1, the publication confirmed that Chechen officials have been arresting and killing gay men. The report shows that over 100 gay men have been detained and at least three have been murdered. The newspaper writes that the men are detained “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation or suspicion of such”.
Leader of Chechnya’ spokesman, Alvi Karimov completely denied the allegations and accused Novaya Gazeta of lying. “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” he says, “If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”
The government is often at odds with citizens who partake in activism. A Moscow-based gay-rights group tried to acquire permits to hold gay pride parades in a Muslim regions of Russia, but were denied. In response Vladimir Putin has told local leaders to push traditional Muslim values and Chechnya took his suggestion to heart. The region has chosen to take preventative measures to arrest closeted gay men. One employed tactic is for the government to pose as gay men on social networking sites, according to the Novaya Gazeta report.
Chechnya’s gay men now are moving to different regions and deleting all social media accounts in search of safety.
Alanna Shingler Staff Reporter