Moscow Gay Bars Targeted in Police Raids Following Supreme Court’s ‘Extremist’ Label for LGBTQ

Moscow Gay Bars Targeted in Police Raids Following Supreme Court's 'Extremist' Label for LGBTQ

In the wake of a recent decision by Russia’s Supreme Court branding the LGBTQ movement as “extremist,” Russian security forces conducted a series of raids on gay clubs and bars in Moscow. The crackdown occurred less than 48 hours after the court’s ruling, which activists argue provides authorities with a broad and ambiguous definition, enabling them to target individuals and groups associated with the LGBTQ movement.

Late on Friday, police officers raided various venues across the capital, including a nightclub, a male sauna, and an LGBTQ party-hosting bar, purportedly under the guise of a drug raid. Witnesses reported that clubgoers’ documents were scrutinized and photographed by security forces. Despite these actions, some managers managed to alert patrons before the police arrived.

President Vladimir Putin’s decade-long crackdown on LGBTQ rights has emphasized “traditional family values.” The recent Supreme Court ruling represents a drastic escalation in these measures, with potential implications yet to be fully understood. The decision follows a series of steps intensifying after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including a ban on medical interventions and administrative procedures for gender reassignment.

Last November, a bill prohibiting all forms of LGBTQ “propaganda” was approved, impacting book publishing and film distribution. Russian rights groups had previously challenged the Justice Ministry lawsuit leading to the recent ruling, claiming it was discriminatory and violated the constitution. However, attempts by LGBTQ activists to become formal parties in the case were rejected, and the Supreme Court hearing occurred behind closed doors, without a defense present.

Russian authorities, despite international accusations, deny discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. Deputy Justice Minister Andrei Loginov insisted that “the rights of the LGBT people in Russia are protected” under the law, asserting that restricting public displays of nontraditional sexual relationships is not a form of censorship.


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