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Hundreds of Gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya Reportedly Targeted for Detention

FILE - Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov speaks at celebrations marking Defenders of the Fatherland Day in Chechnya's provincial capital Grozny, Russia, Feb, 20, 2016/ VOA

Hundreds of men in the Russian republic of Chechnya have been rounded up and detained recently on suspicion of being homosexual, and at least three have died while in custody, according to a prominent Russian newspaper.

Novaya Gazeta, which reported the crackdown Saturday, said it was aware of other sources who say the death toll may be far higher. The gay men who have disappeared from the streets of Grozny, the Chechen capital, and other towns and cities are said to have ranged in age from 16 to 50.

Novaya Gazeta, a Moscow-based publication known for independent investigative reporting and its willingness to confront Russian officialdom, said it learned of the action against gay men in Chechnya from the Interior Ministry in the Caucasus republic, local activists and law enforcement sources.

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The men were detained “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, on suspicion of such,” Novaya Gazeta reported. It said none of the detainees had openly disclosed their sexual orientation — a move the paper equated with asking for a death sentence in the largely Muslim North Caucasus region.

The account also quoted locals as saying Chechens who used gay contact groups on social messaging networks have been abandoning them and closing their accounts. It further quoted sources in Chechnya’s special services as describing the police sweep as “a preventative clear-out” aimed at discouraging public gay rights rallies.

Chechen leader: no gay men here

There was no immediate comment on the report from authorities in Moscow, which has granted its Muslim-majority Caucasus republics freedom to enforce traditional Muslim values.

However, a spokesman for Chechnya’s authoritarian leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, denied the Novaya Gazeta report in a statement to the Russian news agency Interfax that claimed no one in the republic is homosexual.

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“You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” Alvi Karimov said.

“If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them,” Karimov added, “since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”

Novaya Gazeta has a history of confrontation with the Chechen government and the republic’s Kremlin handlers.

Reporter’ s death

In 2006, Gazeta reporter and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya wrote a series of reports critical of Russia, Kadyrov and Moscow’s role in the second Chechen war.

FILE – People light candles next to a portrait of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya during a rally in St. Petersburg in 2006. VOA

In her last interview, Politkovskaya described Chechen leader Kadyrov to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as a “coward armed to the teeth and surrounded by security guards.”

She said she hoped to see Kadyrov “someday sitting in the dock, in a trial that meets the strictest legal standards,” facing justice for atrocities allegedly committed by his forces during the Moscow-backed war against separatists in Chechnya.

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Politkovskaya’s interview with RFE/RL took place October 5, 2006. Two days later, she was shot dead at point-blank range as she entered an elevator in her Moscow apartment building. Her colleagues blamed the assassination on Kadyrov.

The fateful interview that week coincided with then-Prime Minister Kadyrov’s 30th birthday, a milestone that meant he could seek the republic’s presidency, which he did a few months later.

Five men were eventually convicted of killing Politkovskaya. (VOA)

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  • any time i hear or read about homosexuality, it breaks my heart because i just dont understand how we got to this point. God help us

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)