In recent years, Vladimir Putin has come under fire for the homophobia in Russian society and politics – but what is life actually like for LGBT people in Russia? Has the media exaggerated the situation or is it more nuanced than we think?
The Nose travelled to Moscow to film a collection of personal vignettes from within the city’s LGBT community. We asked Anton Mukhin, an openly gay stylist, Karina Krasavina, founder of a lesbian party in Moscow and Ira Putilova, a political & LGBT activist who was given asylum in the UK – to share their thoughts and experiences.
February 27th 2016, marked exactly a year since Boris Nemtsov, a prominent Russian opposition figure and Deputy Prime Minister under Yeltsin, was shot dead one winter evening on the threshold of the Kremlin. He had become an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin and at the time was compiling a report on the presence of Russian soldiers in Eastern Ukraine, something that the Kremlin vehemently denied at the time. On February 27th 2015, he walked out of the GUM department store on Red Square with his girlfriend and down onto the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky bridge, overlooking the bright lights and domes of central Moscow. A car drew up alongside the couple and an unknown assailant shot Nemtsov four times in the back, killing him instantly.
His assassination shocked Russian society and was met with widespread international condemnation.
The Kremlin vowed to carry out a thorough investigation. Russian authorities soon charged Anzor Gubashev and Zaur Dadaev, both from the Northern Caucasus, with involvement in the murder. According to Russian authorities, Dadaev confessed to the crime, but apparently later retracted his statement. Three more suspects were arrested, with another, according to Russian media, blowing himself up in Grozny when Russian police surrounded his apartment block.
Since Nemtsov’s death, Muscovites have closely guarded a shrine of flowers and photographs to the politician on the bridge where he was killed. When authorities try to remove it, people only bring more flowers. Yesterday, on the anniversary of his death, thousands of people took to the streets of Moscow to keep his memory alive, marching for two hours and finishing at his final resting place.
The Nose attended the march to find out what Boris Nemtsov means to those marching and what his legacy means today.