Help those, who fight for life and freedom

In March 2017 the Russian LGBT Network found out that mass detentions, tortures, and murders of homosexual men are happening in Chechnya. We provide necessary assistance to the victims and those who are in danger.

A story through the eyes of one journalist
What is happening there seems insane, but we need to do everything to stop it.
As soon as we realized how horrendous the situation was, the Russian LGBT network organized a hotline for the victims. They started receiving notifications almost immediately. Over the course of 3 weeks, almost 80 people requested assistance and help.
In mid-March, an informant from Chechnya addressed the newspaper. He claimed that a well-known Chechen TV-anchor was murdered. I was asked to check this information among the people I was in contact with, including the contacts I had in the law enforcement agencies.

I worked with Chechnya for as long as 12 years by now. Over these years I developed a whole network of informants in the republic. I confirmed the death of the anchor, yet the reason behind the murder was shocking: he was detained and tortured to death only because he was gay.

As we were trying to verify this information, we also learned about the large-scale anti-LGBT campaign in Chechnya. People were being detained, locked up in secret prisons, and tortured with the one and only purpose: to identify as many homosexuals as possible. The next step was to eradicate them.
This situation is catastrophic. These people had no way to survive. Even if they were released from prisons, they were threatened by their relatives. The Chechen law enforcement officials demanded that the relatives should execute the homosexual family members, appealing to the ancient Vainakh custom — "honor killing" (a measure that allows washing the shame of the family’s good name by killing the culprit of this disgrace).
Novaya Gazeta had no resources to help the victims of the anti-gay campaign in Chechnya. Dozens were killed and hundreds — detained. The Russian LGBT Network played a decisive role in preventing these crises from sprawling. The team managed to organize and carry out unprecedented rescue operations to evacuate and help gay people from Chechnya.

After the Network established a hotline [email protected] more than 75 people requested help in just 2 weeks. Thirty people were evacuated directly from Chechnya and relocated to the shelters in different parts of the country. The rest were able to leave the republic on their own.

The organization of assistance was carried out at an incredibly high level.

All the possible risks were envisaged. All the necessary assistance was thought through and ranged from the safe resettlement of victims, the provision of treatment and psychological assistance, to the completion of the necessary visas-related paperwork and evacuations abroad. This professional approach aroused the trust among the victims as they decided to communicate with the journalists. One has to understand that this is not typical for the residents of Chechnya, who suffer from the misconducts of local authorities.
This was an extremely important step that demanded plenty of courage not only from the Chechen gays themselves but also from the team of the Russian LGBT Network. Various media outlets followed the security protocols developed by the Network. These protocols allowed the victims to open up about their experiences. The interviews of those, who went through detainment and tortures, verified the story that Novaya Gazeta published. Numerous articles and reports from the world’s leading news agencies have convinced the authorities and the general public of the Western countries that what is happening in Chechnya is a crime against humanity.

The Russian authorities were pressured to respond to this crisis. The international pressure was the only reason that the Kremlin allowed the pre-investigation of the mass arrests, torture, and extrajudicial executions. This is an unprecedented action as it happened for the first time in all the years of Ramzan Kadyrov’s rule. There is a chance that these investigations will result in filing a criminal case against the Chechen security forces.

Elena Milashina
Special correspondent of the Novaya Gazeta
Russian LGBT Network
about the crisis in Chechnya
What is happening in Chechnya falls under the article «crime against humanity» of the Roman Statute of the International Criminal Court. Crimes against humanity should be investigated. Now we are now working to investigate the mechanisms of a case submission. Each of the victims also has the ability to apply to the European Court of Human Rights. (source).

Igor Kochetkov
member of the council of the Russian LGBT Network
They are terrified, they don't trust anyone. Everyone whom we helped was afraid that this was a setup, and this was a scheme to entice them. Everyone told me this. Everyone we brought said, «Thank God it's you, an ordinary Russian woman. And we thought that it will be over for us as soon as we arrive.» I asked them, «Why did you come if you were afraid it was a setup?» And they told me: «If we stayed, we would be killed anyway.» (source).

Tatiana Vinnichenko
the chairperson of the council of the Russian LGBT Network
We want to save people
and restore justice.
We use the funds raised to evacuate the people, who are in deadly danger from Chechnya. We offer them safe housing, medical, psychological assistance and the opportunity to leave Russia. We collect evidence and spread honest information about the crisis. We hope that this might force Russian authorities and the international community to take measures to stop the persecution of LGBT people in the North Caucasus and to bring those responsible to justice.
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Caution!
We receive alarming reports from Chechnya that those fleeing persecution received calls from anonymous individuals, who offered them assistance with relocating abroad.

Those people introduced themselves are the representatives of the Russian LGBT Network. They invited the victims to come to Krasnodar to discuss necessary details.

The Russian LGBT network officially confirms that our representatives in the regions did not communicate with the victims and were not authorized to get in touch with them. All communication is being carried out through [email protected].

We must warn you that such offers are not related to the work of the Russian LGBT Network and may pose a threat to your life.

If you received such calls immediately contact us through [email protected] or call 8 800 555 73 74. We guarantee that only three employees, who are directly involved in the evacuation process, will know your personal information.
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Russian LGBT Network
454-64-52 (812) +7
https://lgbtnet.org
[email protected]

Russian LGBT Network's HotLine
Helpline 555-73-74 (800) 8
Online ChatRoom
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