by Leander Milbrecht
TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be disturbing to some people.
After a Russian 19-year-old criticised the homophobic Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, he was forced to strip naked and rape himself with a bottle in front of a camera. The video went viral in Russia on Monday and caused horror in more liberal circles.
The teenager was the presenter of an anti-government channel in the messenger service Telegram, which focused particularly on the Russian republic and the tyrant Kadyrov. Kadyrov is considered one of the world’s most queer-hostile leaders. In Chechnya, homosexuals are systematically persecuted, taken to concentration camps and are even murdered.
In the video published in social media on Monday, the boy apologised in Chechen for his criticism of Kadyrov’s regime. According to the US news website “The Daily Beast”, he was naked and finally turned away from the camera to sodomise himself by sitting on an empty bottle. The footage spread rapidly through Russian social media.
Chechens appalled by public atrocity
Whoever voices criticism of the regime in Chechnya, even if it is just a failed joke in social media, is not safe in the republic in the North Caucasus. There is the threat of persecution, torture and violence. Kadyrov and his militias have a reputation for intimidating critics and for forcing apologies for critical articles, statements and comments. The published video, however, is considered a new low and has again triggered calls for consequences for Putin’s crony Kadyrov.
Ekaterina Sokirianskaya, head of the Media Monitoring Centre for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, told The Daily Beast that she was contacted by many Chechen nationals after the video was made public. They had virtually bombarded her with messenges. The basic tenor: people are appalled, shocked and humiliated. Kadyrov does not speak for the Chechen people.
“The Kremlin officials should realise how much Chechen people respect traditions, many take this public rape allegedly forced by authorities personally, such horrible violation is a provocation of violence.”
Members of neighbouring states are also demanding consequences for “Putin’s soldier” Kadyrov, Sokirianskaya said.
“People are furious, many call to take up weapons; I can also see posts of other nationals in Northern Caucasus saying that if Chechens tolerate this, they have been morally murdered”.
Telegram channel 1Adat reports that their 19 year old moderator in Chechnya was captured and raped with a bottle, video taken and spread on social media. Whether its a fake or not, this can trigger big problems. So many young people are shocked and discussing how to mobilise
— Katya Sokirianskaia (@KSokirianskaia) September 8, 2020
Ekaterina Sokirianskaya (44 years old) is a well-known Russian journalist, political scientist and expert on human rights violations in the North Caucasus. She wrote an article for the New York Times about the persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya in 2017:
“‘Once they bring you there,’ a survivor told me, referring to the secret prison in Chechnya where he’d been detained, ‘they immediately start the beatings and electrocutions, demanding information about who you were dating.’ The guards, he said, would spit in the prisoners’ faces, and worse: ‘We were such hated creatures that each guard felt obliged to hit us when passing by.'”
No reactions to the new accusations and criticisms have yet come from Kadyrov or Putin’s circles. Kadyrov denies his deeds with fine regularity anyway – if he has his way, the blatant human rights violations and internationally criticised “gay purges” have never happened. He even claimed that he could not murder any gays – after all, there are no “such people” in Chechnya.
Worse than bad: In recent years, the Russian republic has always been at the bottom of the Spartacus Gay Travel Index.
- Vladimir_Putin_with_Ramzan_Kadyrov_(2018-06-15)_01: By: Kremlin.ru / CC BY 4.0 / wikimedia.org
- ekaterina: By facebook / Ekaterina Sokirianskaja
- zygimantas-dukauskas-9m8hapLngiw-unsplash: By unslash / CC0
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