by Vera Valk, Tartu

Russian government to finally investigate persecution of gay men in Chechnya

A close friend of the Russian government will investigate allegations of homophobic persecution in Chechnya.

05 May, 2017

The move comes just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin to do just that during a rare summit between the two leaders.

Russia’s human rights ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova asked Putin today to back her request to form a group in Moscow and investigate actions taken against gay people in Chechnya, an autonomous region of the country.

The Russian President agreed to the proposal, according to Associated Press.
However, Putin referred to the reports of imprisonment, torture and killings of gay men in Chechnya as “well-known information, or rumours” about what is happening to people “with a non-traditional sexual orientation.”

And the person charged with the investigation, Moskalkova, is a former major general of the Interior Ministry and ex-MP of a pro-government party.

Human rights groups in the country criticised her appointment a year ago, particularly as unlike most of her predecessors, Moskalkova has a distinct lack of experience as a human rights activist.