Police raid private parties in search of “LGBT propaganda”

The Bell

After Russia’s Supreme Court outlawed the “international LGBT movement” as extremist last year, security forces and intelligence officers immediately began raiding night clubs linked to the LGBT+ community and other public events where there was the slightest hint that they had an LGBT+ connection. Now the police have stepped up their hunt. They’re looking beyond just public clubs and are starting to gatecrash private house parties. Raids in various Russian regions have been accompanied by arrests, beatings and the humiliation of party-goers. Over the past 10 days, details have emerged of at least three such security service “operations”.

  • In the Leningrad Region, which surrounds St. Petersburg, officers crashed a birthday party at a private home and proceeded to beat the guests, who included LGBT+ people, forced them to lie for hours on the cold floor, and refused to let them use the toilet. Propaganda channel Ren-TV showedfootage shot after the raid and claimed that the party-goers had “strange pills,” adult toys and anti-state posters. The report alleged that the house belonged to the former head of the German-Russian Exchange, an organization designated “undesirable” in Russia. 
  • In Tula, a large town 180 kilometers from Moscow, security officers came to a cultural center that was hosting an evening dedicated to “openness and sexuality.” One young person there was grabbed by the hair and forced to sing Tula’s city anthem, while several others were beaten and more were arrested and charged with promoting “LGBT propaganda” — an offense that carries a fine of up to around $1,000. 
  • There was a similar incident in Petrozavodsk, a city close to Russia’s border with Finland, where security officers broke into a nightclub that was hosting a private LGBT+ party and took down the personal details of all the attendees.

Why the world should care:

Any party or gathering in Russia, whether in a private home or a public venue, runs the risk of a police raid if there is any hint that the authorities could interpret it as a challenge to “traditional values.” Russian police officers and security forces are more than happy to take advantage of any opportunity to beat or humiliate those attending LGBT+ events.


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