Over the past year, authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya have reportedly arrested dozens of gay men, in some cases imprisoning them for weeks and torturing them with electric shocks.

Combined with a 2013 law banning what President Vladimir Putin’s government called “homosexual propaganda,” the Chechen crackdown seems to indicate that Russia is becoming increasingly homophobic even as LGBT rights are being strengthened in many other countries.

On this edition of Global Journalist: a look at gay rights in Russia, including an interview with the first openly gay comedian to appear on Russian television.


Joining the program:

  • Pasha Zalutski, a Belarussian comedian who has appeared on Otkryti MikrofonI (Open Mic), a talent show on the Russian network THT.
  • Andrew Kramer, a Russia correspondent for the New York Times.
  • Tanya Lokshina, Russia program director for Human Rights Watch.
  • A spokeswoman for the Russian LGBT Network, a group helping gay men who were arrested in Chechnya. She asked that she not be identified for security reasons.


Produced by Rachel Foster-Gimbel and Edom Kassaye