Russia will cover up murders of LGBTI people during the World Cup, an insider has exclusively told Gay Star News.
Police, government and football officials are allegedly working together to ensure no media is informed of any LGBTI hate crime.
The conspiracy will involve the media being informed that any victim is a ‘hooligan’ who ‘started the attack’.
The insider works in Moscow at the Russia Football Union – the leading organization during this year’s international soccer tournament.
Insider claims: Russia will cover up LGBTI murders
Chechnya protest outside of Russian Embassy in London. | Photo: David Hudson
Gay himself, and closeted, he has spoken to GSN on condition of anonymity. He fears severe backlash in his personal and professional life.
‘I have heard terrifying things,’ he said, ‘and I’m very scared for the safety of gay people.’
He added: ‘Many options were considered on how to tackle the “gay problem”.
‘Removing the propaganda law for the duration of the World Cup was not ever one of them.
‘Russians support the law. It would have been humiliating for the organizers to concede on it.’
The insider continued: ‘The organizers are expecting hooliganism, fans attacking each other and so on.
‘So instead of admitting a hate crime happened, they will just say the victim was a thug who started attacking someone.’
The insider believes any act of protest, which will likely lead to the victim being incarcerated, will end the same way.
It’s the way LGBTI people are referred to at the Russia Football Union that concerns our insider.
‘My boss thinks gay people are vermin. He said, if he had his way, he would gather all of us together in a building, lock it, and burn it down.’
A Russia Football Union spokesperson declined to comment.
Death threats and many warnings about LGBTI safety from officials
Russians protest for LGBTI rights
Thugs have already threatened to murder LGBTI fans.
Pride in Football – an alliance of LGBTI football fan groups – has had to report death threats to police.
Joe White, Pride in Football’s campaign leader, said the threats were being taken seriously.
‘We’ve had people say that if they find us they’ll stab us, so it’s been a mixture but they’re being dealt with seriously and those investigations are still ongoing,’ he said.
Broadcaster Anton Krasovsky, who lost his career after coming out on TV, has also warned LGBTI fans.
Speaking to HuffPost, he said Moscow is worth visiting because of its underground gay scene.
However, he added: ‘But what I’d also like to tell everyone is: don’t take a stand in public. It’s not safe.’
‘It’s not safe’
Tilda Swinton stands in solidarity with the LGBTI community in Russia
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Be on the Ball guide, has also strongly urged fans to not express they are LGBTI.
It states: ‘There is no reason not to come to the World Cup if you are LGBT+. However, although same-sex sexual activity has been decriminalized in Russia since 1993, it is strongly understood and advised that you do not publicly display your sexuality, but this is up to the individual.”
The guide warns that the country’s gay propaganda law ‘effectively prohibiting any public display of LGBT+ rights’ is ‘generally supported by the population due to the conservative and Christian Orthodox beliefs held by many.’
The St Petersburg group Coming Out has set up a safety hotline for any visiting fans who feel threatened.
They said ‘although Russia promises to demonstrate a high level of tolerance and security, foreign football organizations warn LGBT fans that there are no effective laws in Russia that would protect them against potential manifestations of intolerance.’
If you have been refused services for being LGBTI, are attacked or threatened with violence, accused of ‘gay propaganda’, you are welcome to call the hotline.
Call +7 (953) 170 97 71 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.