During a recent trip to Russia, I decided to find out.
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“I just heard this was a good way to get money.”Meduza traced several almost identical incidents to an organized group of about 20 who would sometimes introduce themselves to the victims as an “NGO” called “Kindness,” telling them “We fight against people like you.” Though the verbal abuse and threats were always homophobic, their motivations appear to be financial.
By the end of the fake “dates,” they would extort hundreds or thousands of dollars, whatever the victim could pay and borrow.
The owner of the high-rise apartment at 224 Moskovskiy Prospekt where some of these robberies took place rents it at a day rate on
He refused to cooperate with Meduza at first, then suggested that if “a gay got beat up” then “he should be grateful he’s alive.” Recently, several victims have very hesitantly decided to go to the police.
Eventually police were called who arrested the intolerant man on a hooliganism charge.
They beat him, videotaped him, shouted “We will break all your ribs and bury you! They then suggested they should “resolve the situation financially” and one of the robbers escorted Alexey home to get his bank card and transfer all the money out of his account.
“Really, I’m not a homophobe,” the robber told Alexey as they waited for a cab.
Gay victims of crimes rarely go to the Russian police for fear of being outed or humiliated, and according to the report, this allows the culprits continue to act with impunity.“Alexey” [not his real name] told Meduza about how he was lured into a high-rise apartment in a central part of the city by a man whose profile he saw on the gay social app Hornet.
He was jumped by two other men hiding behind a sliding door of a closet.