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Violent anti-gay videos pervade Russian social media

Authorities unwilling to arrest perpetrators for obvious crimes

Human Rights Watch has compiled video footage filmed by Russian anti-gay groups, such as Occupy Pedophilia, to demonstrate the extent of the growing problem. Credit: Human Rights Watch

Violent anti-gay posts and videos are endemic on Russia’s most popular social media site, VKontakte, the Guardian reports, despite the company’s assurances that it deletes inappropriate content.

“We do our best to remove the content that violates our terms of service, as fast as possible. Videos of violence and abuse are forbidden,” VK’s press officer, George Lobushkin, told the Guardian.

Videos such as those by neo-Nazi group Occupy Pedophilia, who bait and then torture and humiliate gay victims, remain common on the site, however.

In a profile published Feb 11, American journalist John Aravosis detailed how Russian anti-gay groups use social networks such as VK, Facebook and Instagram to disseminate anti-gay pictures and videos. One leader of an Occupy Pedophilia chapter in St Petersburg, Ekaterina Zigunova, openly posts pictures of herself and her followers kidnapping and abusing gay men.

Aravosis points out that Russian authorities have been unwilling to step in: Zigunova remains free, despite posting her name and obviously criminal acts online.

Occupy Pedophilia’s national leader, Maxim Martsinkevich, was finally arrested last month after CNN aggressively publicized his hundreds of violent kidnappings, but he was charged only with insulting Second World War veterans.