On Friday, police in Moscow were searching for about two dozen masked men who'd stormed into one of the city's most popular gay bars on Thursday, Coming Out Day, and brutalized several patrons, mostly women. According to the New York Times, more than ten people were injured, including three women and a man who all had to be hospitalized after the attack.
Three Russian cities, including St. Petersburg, have passed laws criminalizing whatever falls under the vague category of "homosexual propaganda," and the Russian Orthodox Church, in yet another apparent bid to assert its moral preeminence, has endorsed a measure to extend such laws nationwide. Though no such law has yet passed, a measure banning gay pride parades in Moscow for a century — until 2112 — was upheld in the city's highest court in August.
Gay men and lesbians in Russia are rightly concerned that the recent bar attack indicates that anti-gay groups are becoming more aggressive. According to Nikolai Alekseyev, founder of the Moscow Gay Pride movement, the attack shows that anti-gay groups "believe that they won't be caught and won't be punished for this." With the Church increasing pressure on the LGBTQ community, incidents like these may become more common as Russia embarks on a particularly ugly phase of its ongoing culture war.