‘I will pretend not to be me’: Russia cracks down on LGBTQ+ community

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01/17/2024

The ink was barely dry on Russia’s decision to outlaw what it called the “international LGBT public movement” as extremist when masked police raided a bar in central Moscow where Vasili gathered with his friends on Friday nights for an LGBTQ+ party. “It was a regular Friday evening until suddenly we saw the police storming in,” Vasili, who asked for his name to be changed because of safety concerns, recalled. Vasili described how, along with about 100 others, he was ordered to face a wall while police searched visitors for drugs and photographed their passports. “The police claimed it was a drug raid, but everyone understood they raided the club because it was a queer night,” he said. “Standing against that wall, you realise how little rights you have as a gay person in this country.”

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