By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com February 04 2014 4:22 PM ET
A new video from activist organization Human Rights Watch provides a terrifying look into just how bad anti-LGBT violence has become in Russia.
Using clips from videos posted to Russian social networks that proudly document the violent assaults against people perceived to be LGBT, the Human Rights Watch video gives a brutal and all too real face to the hostility fostered by Russia's state-sanctioned homophobia. The video includes clips showing members of the Neo-Nazi vigilante group "Occupy Pedophilia," which claims to protect children by luring gay men with false offers of dates online, then humiliates and often brutalizes the young men captured, forcing them to "confess" to their homosexuality or pedophilia on-camera.
In addition to its shocking footage, the video also features interviews with LGBT Russians and activists, who place the escalation of anti-LGBT violence squarely on the shoulders of the President Vladimir Putin's Kremlin, which passed a ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" last summer, essentially criminalizing any positive mention or depiction of LGBT people. Russian activists contend that when they report the antigay attacks to police, officers tell them it's the treatment they should expect for being gay in Russia.
"Russia should take active steps to investigate these homophobic crimes, and bring the attackers to justice," says Tanya Cooper, a Russia researcher for Human Rights Watch in the video. "It should also denounce publicly this violence and make sure that there is zero tolerance to homophobic crimes and violence in Russia. And the Russian authorities should repeal the federal propaganda law."
Watch the video below, but be warned that it contains violent, graphic images of brutal antigay assaults.