Thursday, August 17, 2017

Russian extremist groups lure, assault gay teens using social media

Right-wing extremists in Russia recently began using Vladimir Putin's anti-gay message as license to put up fake profiles on social media to lure young male Russian teens to a location where they then physically assault them.

Last week, the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance posted a graphic and violent video showing a young man in Moscow being tortured and sprayed with urine in an apartment in broad daylight, The Journalist reports.

The teenagers, aging from age 12 to 16, were also forced to talk about their sexual orientation.

The alliance is an organization that works to end discrimination against LGBT communities across Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other former Soviet countries. The group reports that infamous Russian ultra-nationalist and former skinhead Maxim Martsinkevich has spearheaded a campaign that uses social network site VK.com to lure unsuspecting LGBT teens through personal ads.

Martskinkevich, who goes by the name "Cleaver" or "Tesak" in Russian, claims that members of his group are "crime fighters." They claim to be identifying pedophiles, organizing themselves under "Occupy" groups on the VK.com social network. The organization said the site has allegedly been used to organize illegal militant groups in every Russian city.

"Captured victims are bullied and often tortured while being recorded on video," the organization said, according to The Journalist. "These self-proclaimed 'crime fighters' perform their actions under the broad day light, often outside and clearly visible to general public that indifferently passes by or even commend them. Video recordings of bullying and tortures are freely distributed on the Internet in order to out LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends. Many victims were driven to suicides, the rest are deeply traumatized."

The Russian police has not made an effort to prevent the actions of the militant groups, despite their violation of Russian criminal laws and numerous complaints from parents, victims and LGBT activists.

VK.com has been working to shut down known people and groups that terrorize LGBT people, but the predators usually resurface the next day.

Earlier this summer it was reported that 19-year-old boy Alex Bulygin committed suicide following an assault by the local branch of Maxim Martsikevich's group, The Journalist reports.