Russian adult content provider forced to entrap gay men online by Dagestan police — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Russian adult content provider forced to entrap gay men online by Dagestan police

A Russian male adult content provider was detained in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan for the second time in two weeks on Wednesday after reportedly being forced to entrap gay men online by the republic’s police.

Matvey Volodin, a Moscow resident who performs under the name USSRboy, was detained by plain clothes police officers as he left a temporary detention centre where he had been held for 10 days, North Caucasus SOS, a Telegram crisis group devoted to helping LGBTQ+ people in the region, said.

A lawyer Volodin spoke with told North Caucasus SOS that Volodin had come to Dagestan in late May at the invitation of men who had contacted him online and told him they had rented him an apartment there.

However, they turned out to be officers from the Centre for Combating Extremism, a special unit within the Russian police, who after beating Volodin and confiscating his phone, forced him to assist them with entrapping gay men online, according to North Caucasus SOS. Using Volodin’s account to invite people to the apartment, the officers allegedly filmed Volodin’s sexual encounters with more than five men.

Shortly after Volodin’s first encounter with the Dagestan police, local religious activist and self-described “populariser of moral values” Gadzhimurad Shamilovich boasted on social media that “a whole network” of “rainbow people” had been identified in Dagestan, independent news website Vot Tak reported.

After a few days of involuntary collaboration with the security forces, Volodin was arrested for petty hooliganism, Vot Tak wrote. He was set to be released from the detention centre on Wednesday, and a relative and two lawyers were waiting there to meet him when he was unexpectedly detained for a second time.

Volodin’s friend told Vot Tak that local police officers initially intended to charge him with possession of drugs, but then they discovered a private Telegram channel on his phone that shared explicit videos with some 28,000 subscribers.

In November the Russian Supreme Court declared the “international LGBT social movement” an “extremist organisation”, which led to arbitrary arrests throughout the country. The North Caucasus, where Dagestan is located, is known to be one of the most homophobic regions in Russia.

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