Tuesday 5 April 2011

In Russia, gay activist suffers second assault by fascists, police refuse action

Artem Kalinin
For the second time the Russian gay activist Artem Kalinin has been attacked by neo-Nazis and again Russian police are refusing to investigate. Artem is from the city of Syktyvkar, 1000k north-east of Moscow.

Here's Artem's story (original in Russian), translation by Ruslan Porshnev:

March 29, 2011, at about 12 o'clock at night, due to lack of home computer equipment I was going to go to computer club "Saigon" to work on the first day of Syktyvkar conducted "Week Against Homophobia 2011", which was held on March 28. To make itclear: I was sober and was not on the date - this is the question of possible rumors.

I left the house, heading towards the club. Suddenly, near the corner of my house, I saw a suspicious young man of strong physique at the age of 20-22 years. He hovered around the house, like he's waiting for someone. I began to look closely, he went to another corner of the house, like hiding, waiting for the moment to attack. Standing by him fifteen meters, I told him: "What you're here you go, wandering by windows?" He mumbled something in reply. I got a cell phone to call the police. At that very moment, as I reported his address, unknown "well-wisher" was moving in my direction with his hand in his pocket. I realized that there is something he has probably edged weapons.

I didn't want to get into any fight, keeping in mind the previous attack, I quickly went a step toward my apartment, the stranger followed me. Not having time to open the door, I felt a sudden punch on my head, from which I began to lose coordination. Blood gushed out of my head, leaking on my whole neck and the collar of the jacket. We began to fight, he began to hit an unknown object all over my body as I realized later, it was a stick with an iron knob. As always, the neighbors did not hear anything and did not see the floor of my porch was covered with splashes of blood.

During the scuffle I was able to escape, I ran towards the nearest shop, "On the Pechorsakya Street", hoping to meet there the police or at least some more or less a living soul. Unfortunately, because of my own shoes, perhaps because of the ice-covered ground, I fell. The assailant chased me from the door of my house, made a punch in my face and head area, the stick in the hands of the assailant at the moment I have not noticed. I decided to reason the attacker and turned to him with the words: "Come on, calm down ..." In response, I heard a familiar: "You're a fag, I always wanted to kill you! If you want, I'll kill you, I don't care... ". Also from his words, I realized that he had "a friend in police, who offered us to help trace you down, they won't charge me for this". Of course, I realized that the attacker knows nothing about criminal charges, feeling his full impunity. I was lying on the cold snow, the guy went methodically to offend me by applying successive kicks to the body. At this point, a couple of young people were walking on the sidewalk who have done nothing to call for help or to have at least some resistance to the attacker.

After some time, the police crew arrived which I called earlier. Most of all I was struck by the reaction of these employees have taken the side of my abuser. The assailant went on to explain that I was "fag, there's no need for him to get acquainted with the guys" and then asked the law enforcement officials: "Fags are not jailed nowadays?" One of the officers replied laconically: "We shall investigate all this." The younger officer asked me: "Should I call an ambulance?" This despite the fact that I was beaten up and bleeding everywhere. A second officer, as if unaware of my condition, he decided to make an examination on the spot. His questions were predictable: "What is your sexual orientation? Where this all was going on? We also need to know all circumstances of the case!". What does my sexual orientation have to deal with it? is it allowed in Russia to beat any people?

Lying on the ground covered in blood, I was unable to answer the questions to me, awaiting the arrival of the ambulance. "ER" has appeared in a few minutes, I was taken to neuro-traumatological department of Ezhvinsky area. The duty doctor examined me, stated the fracture of the nasal bridge, four wounds on my head and numerous bruises, contusions of the face.

After the hospital I went to the police department of Syktyvkar. In a taxi I called the police phone line "02". I was interested in only one question: "Where at the moment is the attacker?" A duty officer simply stunned me: "We filed a protocol on the young man, and then he was released". I tried to explain that by this act they are putting my life is a real danger! After all, he knows where I live, may come himself or send me his friends. I urgently asked to detain him, as I was going to submit a statement about him. To which the officer replied: "Your actions are illegal, I do not bear the responsibility for your life". I hung up the phone, driving to the building of the police department. Already in place, dealing with the duty officer, I asked for my pen and paper. He received the answer: "Well, we are obliged to you?" I had to ask for a pen from the employee, who was sitting at the entrance.

After some time from the next room to me came on duty policeman, who asked to go to his office to produce explanations and written statements. I want to thank the staff member, because I have never felt before such tolerance and humanity. He gave me a referral to a forensic medical examination, after I went home. After arriving home, on the doorstep I have discovered the attacker's lost his hat, and a broken weapon - a stick with an iron knob, previously percieved by me as a stick with a nail.

I have also been found missing my private keys, which, apparently, I dropped during the fight. I hope they do not get into the hands of the assailant.

At this point I seriously fear for my life. For me, this attempt has well-defined character. I suppose that the attack may have been involved separate groups of homophobes or associates from nationalist organization "Rubezh Severa" because it is no secret that on their website posted the materials, openly calling to "crush faggots like shit", at the same time as we started to conduct activities of "Week Against Homophobia." Even if it is not people from "Rubezh Severa", I personally place all the responsibility for threats, assault, incitement to Alexei Kolegov with his "Rubezh Severa". Any mentally inadequate people, or just homophobic, as well as supporters of his organization, decided to please their master, because such uncontrolled authority calls "sodomites shall not pass", etc., can take it for granted. Who's next?

I would like to appeal to the authorities. How long will you tolerate in inciting violence against the LGBT community? I now feel strong social pressure on all that is happening in our city. These acts of violence occurring in the country, outraged by not only the LGBT community in Russia, but also a lot of heterosexuals. I ask the government finally to take up a pack of neo-Nazi, operating in the Komi Republic in the guise of orthodoxy and the idea of monarchy. I will continue to work on political and human rights-based field for LGBT people, despite all my shortcomings and disadvantages. I ask that the LGBT people of the republic to stop hiding - as far as circumstances allow you to come together.

P.S. I think the next victims of these attacks can become chief editor of "ProGorod" Natalia Beshkareva or journalist Denis Sasin, who by coincidence, two days before the incident, as previously stated by newspaper "Red Flag" was also threatened by Alex Kolegov. I pray to God that these are not links of the same chain.

Further information links (in Russian, Google translation of links)
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