If like in the movie The Purge, there was once a year where there are no laws for a set period of time and you couldliterally kill people legally if you wanted to, what would you do? Would you join in with the purge or would you hide in safety cuddling your teddy bear hoping your sibling gets purged and not you? For me I’d maybe steal a couple of things, get some cool stuff and some money within like the first hour and then bolt home to feel guilty and cry behind the couch into my newly stolen bag of basmati rice.
What if I told you the purge is sort of a thing in one place in Russia. Well one not like the movie but one true to the definition. You would find it sickening and not in the ‘yaaaaas Queen’ way of sickening, actually fucking sickening. Well world there is a purge that is going on in the Chechnya Republic inside Russia.
Chechnya is one of 21 republics within Russia, who’s regional ethnicities are allowed their own semi autonomous governments and regional powers; one of the largest Republics, Chechnya has 80% of its economy provided via the Russian Kremlin. We all are aware of Russia’s attitudes to the LGBTQ community and anything outwith the ‘traditional family values’ but Chechnya makes the rest of Russia look like the most gay friendly and tolerant country in comparison. For real. Chechnya being one of the regional republics of Russia, it takes Russian values and attitudes and injects them with more steroids than a professional wrestler in the 1980’s.
The vast majority of Russians discriminate against gays in all aspects. Shunning gays like Amish people do, but also mixing in the loss of jobs if gays are outed publicly and physical assaults which are very common against the gay community (some conducted by the police!) make being outed a massive fear for many LGBTQ Russians. Chechnya on the other hand don’t just do that, they take it up a notch so large that the US themselves have even imposed sanctions upon the Republics President Ramzan Kadyrov, who we will get to in a bit. Chechnya’s special forces and police actively hunt out and lock their gays up in jails and concentration camps so they can torture them in many brutal ways for being gay, and also to get names of more fellow queers in the Republic. No need to ponder why it’s more than rightfully described as a purge.
This purge is incredibly revolting; if you are deemed to look even remotely gay then hiya pal you’re getting the same treatment. In this region to look even remotely against the norm you will be facing the same treatment. No joke. There is no other option than to be overtly masculine or overtly feminine in appearance if you want to survive. It’s completely shambolic and despite not being Russian, I’d be leaving a brown trail coming out from my leg wear wherever I went in Chechnya.
As mentioned 2 paragraphs above, the president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov (known as a protégé of Vladdy Putin), has had US sanctions placed upon him, as have a few other high up people in the Republic. The man is one intimidating bastard that would make even the hardest person in your local young team feel as small as a food ration in a Ugandan prison. He truly is one scary looking human, that looks like he could crush your head by simply patting it with his awful biker metal band esqe beard. Kadyrov has stated that ‘there are no gays in Chechnya ‘and has completely denied all allegations of any abuses, despite the international media spread about them during the first purge in early 2017. Despite his intimidating Russian man aesthetics, Kadyrov fancies himself as an Insta celebrity who uses the app to show off how he’s just a normal guy who likes bike rides, animals and watching 10 year old kids beat fuck out of each other in a MMA octagon without any head guards. A whole separate article could be written about him; there are many tangents to who he is as a human and how he seems a little bit gay for Putin with his sheer licking of not so sexy, sexy Vladdys big jobby (poo) filled arsehole on his Instagram.
Kadyrov’s own spokesperson has gone on record to state “you cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the Republic. If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning”. Essentially condoning ‘honour killings’ and saying that even if people were to come out their families would kill them for their sexuality. Completely disgusting stuff all around.
I could talk about the abuses for days but anyway, let’s get down to business and why we are here -Tinder. As usual I did two rounds of swiping to see how we would fare in Chechnya but I primarily wanted to match with anyone at all so I could find out what actual Chechnya based humans feel about gay Chechnya.
Just like in St Petersburg, Russia all the Chechen girls were incredibly beautiful, complete worldies to put it in a ‘lads lads lads’ way, and with me looking like a squid who had been run over numerous times by a monster truck on a good day, I didn’t expect anything at all and would have been overjoyed with anything. From my usual two rounds of scrolling until I ran out of the ‘ability to like’ for 12 hours, there was a grand total of 2 guys amongst the numerous girls I liked. Just like in St Petersburg I couldn’t help but think they were probably just a trap to lure gay guys into meeting them and being outed as gay to the special forces and Chechnya’s police. More so than in St Petersburg was the sheer lack of guys on Tinder; even in places like Tanzania there were more guys on Tinder and you can get a life sentence there for being a gay male!
The almost non existent amount of guys just shows the sheer lack of LGBTQ folk there, hiding out of pure fear of torture, assault and in the case of many death. It’s completely shocking that this is in a first world country, where we are so lucky to have the lives we have, but you’re seemingly better off to be in a country where you could spend the rest of your eternity in prison for who you love than in Chechnya.
The two guys I saw unfortunately I didn’t match with and could’ve maybe interacted with to find out if they were in fact a real queer man or a special forces person to lure me in. Despite my concerns and fear, even from being 7,000 miles away in Japan at the time of writing, I really wish I could’ve interacted with them even if it would’ve lead me to potential problems for my queer self. However I did manage to match with an outrageously beautiful girl who I reached out to in Russian via google translate to see if she would answer a few questions for me for this article, but disappointingly I never got a response from her.
Regardless of my hope to interact with someone living within Chechnya, my primary focus in this feature of the 24 Hours on Tinder series here on Loveable Loser was to show off the atrocity of the purge against LGBTQ people and especially gay men in Chechnya. Despite Putin claiming there were no human rights abuses after an ‘investigation’ conducted in 2018, Chechnya still remains one of the worst places in the entire world to be gay. It won’t change any time soon in Russia and especially the Republic of Chechnya but all we can do is hope and spread awareness of this atrocity and human rights abuse, by keeping the world aware of what has and still is going on in this region of Russia.
Now I don’t want to blast Russia, and especially the Russian people, as a country despite what the media says. There are many, many Russian people who are genuinely great humans and wonderful people despite any beliefs they have and there aren’t any Russians other than this one cunt I dealt with whilst working in Canada that I have disliked. Russia is an interesting place, a place I really enjoy learning about and will one day visit! Please do not hate Russians or judge a Russian based upon what the media portrays the country to be, even people in Chechnya. Just remember that many people in the republic will have no idea of the abuses that are happening in Chechnya, so don’t hate the general Chechnyan public unless they have condoned or conducted any of these abuses or assaults on LGBTQ humans.
Swankie – 23, Scotland. Loveable Loser.
If anyone wants to know more about this purge and the recent history of it please google it and read all the available articles online from many credible news outlets. Also if reading journalistic articles isn’t your thing, there are some good videos on YouTube about it including one from ABC News. As always, sending my love to all the fellow queers and if you put milk in the bowl before cereal then you’re a fucking monster.