For the past month and a half, we’ve been hearing reports of the terrors that gay and bisexual men are going through in Chechnya.
That said, it’s good to hear that there are people truly trying to help those men in need.
Besides people who are calling for help to the deaf ears of the UN and other international governments, there are organizations that are condemning Chechnya’s government for their acts of genocide.
In addition, there is now one of the first incidents of another country that has offered visas to men who’ve escaped from Chechnya.
Lithuania is that country to celebrate. The country’s foreign minister, Linas Linkevičius, confirmed that the country’s government had granted asylum to two Chechnen men to the Baltic News Service.
‘I can confirm that we have issued visas to two who came from Chechnya, who were persecuted because of their sexual orientation.”
— BNS Lithuania (@BNSLithuania) May 17, 2017
‘We have consistently raised these issues with the EU, and in the parliamentary structures of the Council of Europe,’ he said.
‘With respect to the opportunity to help and, if necessary, granting asylum, we will coordinate with allies.’
Certainly, these men need it as, reportedly, more than 100 people have been detained, tortured, and killed. In addition, around 40 people have taken refuge in other areas of Russia, but this is the first incident where a country’s government has stepped in to help.
It’s disappointing that Lithuania is the first country to act to protect these men. The US even denied visas to men seeing asylum (and even detained a man fleeing Russia), and when asked why that was, the US State Department declined to reply.
It doesn’t stop there however, as there seems to be some act of trying to cover up the situation.
For instance, LGBT rights groups have been repeatedly asking for the situation in Chechnya to be investigated.
After hearing this, Chechnya’s government has given mixed responses. Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, said he would cooperate with Vladimir Putin’s investigation. But, seeing as Russia’s government is anti-LGBT, that investigation probably wouldn’t go well for the men being targeted.
In addition, the Chechen Interior Minister, Ruslan Alkhanov, said that he went through his own investigation and found no evidence that any of this was happening.
He specifically said that the reports were “baseless and frivolous,” and called out reporters from the organization Novaya Gazeta. One of whom, Elena Milashina, was forced into hiding. He said that the organization had created, “hype inflated by individual … Chechnen people.”
He even went further to say that Milashina’s reporting was, “provocative and intended to discredit the Chechnen Republic in the public eye.”
It certainly worked.