Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says investigators have found no evidence that gay men are being rounded up, detained, and in some cases murdered in the republic of Chechnya, according to NBC News.
These claims, from a government that is also openly hostile towards gays, are very much in line with those Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov made earlier this week. Kadyrov called the reports suggesting that this situation has affected over a hundred men (and left three dead) a “massive information attack ... using the most unworthy methods, reality is distorted, attempts are being made to blacken our society, lifestyle, traditions and customs.”
During a meeting on Wednesday, part of which was televised, Kadyrov told Putin not to believe the “provocative” reports, which first ran in the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Since then, the reporter who broke the story, Elena Milashina, told the Washington Post that she’s fleeing Russia. Peskov told press that journalists have nothing to fear. I’m sure they’re all heaving heavy sighs of relief.
Earlier this week, CNN ran a report featuring an interview of a man who shared his experience in one of the Chechen camps that its president says doesn’t exist: