Gay man arrested in Dagestan says police offered him money to entrap other men — Novaya Gazeta Europe

Gay man arrested in Dagestan says police offered him money to entrap other men

A gay man who was briefly arrested in the Russian North Caucasus republic of Dagestan in June has described how he was offered money to help the police to entrap other gay men in the region, SOS Crisis Group, a local LGBTQ+ non-profit, said on Monday.

The man, who asked to be referred to by the pseudonym Yusuf when he spoke to SOS Crisis Group, was detained and taken to a police station on the night of 5 June, after his contact details were found on the phone of another man detained at the home of Matvey Volodin, who produces adult content as USSRBoy. Yusuf said he had never heard of USSRBoy and never followed him on social media.

According to Yusuf, at the police station he was offered money to “work” with the police, contacting other gay men on social media and inviting them over to his house, where they would be detained. He said his release had been conditional on him agreeing to the deal on camera.

“Let’s be friends,” Yusuf said the officers told him, describing the proposed “partnership” as “win-win”, telling him: “You’ll work with us and we’ll pay you money.”

On his release, Yusuf contacted the SOS Crisis Group, which helped him leave Russia.

Yusuf’s account of his dealings with the republic’s police follows a string of arrests of gay men in Dagestan after they were persuaded to go to Volodin’s house after meeting him on a dating app.

Volodin went to Dagestan in late May at the invitation of men who had contacted him online. The men turned out to be police, who, after beating him and confiscating his phone, forced him to assist them with entrapping gay men online. Using Volodin’s account to invite people to the apartment, the officers filmed his sexual encounters with more than five men, according to North Caucasus SOS.

An unnamed gay man was charged with distributing pornography on Thursday after meeting with Volodin at home. Volodin is now facing fresh charges of producing and distributing pornography himself.

The Russian Supreme Court declared the “international LGBT movement” an “extremist organisation” in May, prompting a series of arrests throughout the country. Russia’s North Caucasus republics have a long history of homophobic violence and persecution of queer people.

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