The title is a quote from Alvi Karimov, the spokesman for Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Muslim Chechen Republic. It was said in reply to a claim made in a Russian newspaper that the Chechen government had launched a mass round up of homosexuals, detaining at least a hundred people and killing at least three.
Chechnya is technically a part of Russia, and Kadyrov is a quasi-ally of Vladimir Putin. The Russian-Chechnyan relationship has evolved to a point where as long as Kadyrov prevents terrorist attacks on Russian soil, he is allowed to pretty much do what he wants internally. As it happens, what he wants is to create an authoritarian Islamic state, with him as its head.
The allegation itself has not been confirmed. It could be Russian government propaganda. It also could be liberal or gay activist propaganda. Or, of course, it could be an honest mistake or exaggeration by one of those parties.
It also could be true.
I should note that Pink News has alleged that Putin himself gave the order for the sweep. Why Putin would give such an "order" concerning a separatist area that he has been on the whole fairly hands-off on was not explained.
But what makes the original story plausible are some recent statements made both by that Chechen government spokesman, as well as others.
Why are there no homosexuals in Chechnya? Karimov gave a pretty direct answer, on the record:
...because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.
This, shall we say, harsh stance was echoed by Kheda Saratova, a Chechen "activist" who serves on Kadyrov's human rights council:
I haven’t had a single request on [a gay rights issue], but if I did, I wouldn’t even consider it. In our Chechen society, any person who respects our traditions and culture will hunt down this kind of person without any help from authorities, and do everything to make sure that this kind of person does not exist in our society.
Make sure this kind of person does not exist.
Whatever one thinks of Russia's position on gay rights in general, or the unconfirmed (and in my view, almost certainly false) allegations of Putin's involvement in this particular incident, Vladimir Putin didn't create Chechen cultural attitudes towards homosexuals - an attitude which, merely going by the above, can be described as literally lethal.
But it is of course par for the course for liberals and even many gay activists to downplay or even ignore that part of the story. It's better for the narrative to make it about Putin.
And no, I'm not a Putin fan.
Putin kills dissidents.
Muslim Chechnya kills gays.
From New Europe:
Authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya have launched an anti-gay campaign that has led to authorities rounding up men suspected of being homosexual. According to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and human rights activists, more than 100 people have been detained and three men killed in the roundup.
Alvi Karimov, spokesperson for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, described the report as “absolute lies and disinformation”, basing his denial on the claim that there were no gay people in Chechnya. “You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic,” he told Interfax news agency.
“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.” ;
As reported by The Guardian, a spokesman for the region’s interior ministry told the Russian newspaper RBC that the report was “an April fool’s joke”.
However, Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, Russia project director for the International Crisis Group, told the Guardian she had been receiving worrying information about the issue from various sources over the past 10 days. “I have heard about it happening in Grozny [the Chechen capital], outside Grozny, and among people of very different ages and professions,” she said.
An LGBT rights organisation in St Petersburg has set up an anonymous hotline for gay people in Chechnya to seek help with evacuation from the republic.In a separate report, The Associated Press noted that the Kremlin-backed Kadyrov is widely accused of extensive human rights violations. He has brought Islam to the fore of Chechnya’s daily life, including opening what is called Europe’s biggest mosque.