By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com July 26 2013 11:10 AM ET
A well-known group of Russian neo-Nazis has been luring gay teens who respond to personal ads, then beating them, humiliating them, and forcing them to come out on video, reports Spectrum Human Rights Alliance. The skinhead group then proudly posted photos of the assaults on Facebook.
Reportedly leading the homophobic attacks is infamous Russian nationalist Maxim Martsinkevich, also known as "Cleaver," a former skinhead who claims he's launched a national campaign to root out "pedophilia" in Russia. But Martsinkevich and his cronies in the group called "Occupy-Pedofilyay" are reportedly targeting LGBT teenagers between the ages of 14 and 16 with personal ads hosted on Russian social networking sites advertising gay dates, according to the U.K.'s Pink News. When the teens respond to the ads, they are captured, often bullied and tortured, then forced to come out as gay on videos intended to be shared with their friends, family, and community members.
Human rights activists began circulating the graphic image above of one teen who they say was captured, covered in red paint, then forced to kneel and hold a sex toy while the antigay militants proudly posed alongside him. The photo was posted to Facebook Wednesday.
Russian authorities have either ignored or condoned the antigay violence, according to Spectrum. And since President Vladimir Putin signed into law a national ban on so-called "homosexual propaganda" earlier this month, LGBT victims of violence have little legal recourse. Both houses of the Russian parliament also recently approved a ban on foreign married same-sex couples or single adults adopting Russian orphans. Putin signed that bill into law just days after signing the ban on any discussion of "non-traditional sexual relations" with minors.
LGBT demonstrators have been beaten and arrested by police and bystanders at recent unsanctioned Pride rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Earlier this week, a group of Dutch tourists filming a documentary on LGBT life in Russia were arrested under the nation's antigay law. They were released without charges the following day.