Chechnya’s leader invites Macron, Merkel to visit his region

By : Wire Report
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MOSCOW (AP) – The leader of Russia’s Chechnya has invited the French president and the German chancellor to visit his region and check for themselves the reports about gay people being killed and tortured there.

The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported in April that gay men in Chechnya had been tortured and killed by police. The Associated Press last month spoke to two victims of the crackdown who backed the reports.

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Macron discusses gay Chechnya crackdown with Putin

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he discussed the crackdown against gay Chechens with his Russian counterpart.

“We discussed the situation of LGBT people in Chechnya,” wrote Macron on his Twitter page after he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris. “I very specifically told President Putin what France’s expectations are.”

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House committee unanimously approves Chechnya resolution

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday approved a resolution that condemns the crackdown against gay Chechens.

The resolution — which has 52 co-sponsors — passed in a unanimous voice vote.

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Stephen Colbert’s Trump-Putin joke received more than 5,000 complaints

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Stephen Colbert’s sexually explicit gay joke about President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on his May 1 episode of “The Late Show” cracked up his studio audience, but home viewers didn’t find the joke as funny.

Politico reports that the FCC received 5,700 complaints about Colbert’s opening monologue joke calling Trump, “Vladimir Putin’s c-ck holster.” The joke sparked the social media campaign #FireColbert on Twitter.

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Chad Griffin urges U.S. to grant visas to gay Chechen men

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin on Monday described reports that the U.S. has discouraged Russian LGBT rights advocates from helping men who have fled anti-gay persecution in Chechnya apply for visas as “greatly disturbing.”

Griffin in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote that while he understands “it is indeed difficult for them to obtain U.S. visas, it is imperative that the U.S. immediately take every possible step to help the victims find their way safely — and to clearly communicate that the U.S. is pursuing every option, so that the victims do not lose hope.”

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Putin and Merkel spar in Russia over Chechnya, election meddling

By : Wire Report
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MOSCOW (AP) – During a tense appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied on Tuesday that Moscow ever interferes in elections in other countries.

Speaking during a joint news conference following talks at his Black Sea residence, Putin said accusations of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election were “simply rumors” that were being used as part of the political fight in Washington. He also denied interfering in European elections.

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Sen. Rubio denounces gay Chechnya arrests on Senate floor

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) denounced on the Senate floor Monday the ongoing reports of anti-gay arrests and detention in Chechnya, blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for allowing them to happen.

Rubio, who previously denounced the alleged atrocities on Twitter, called on the U.S. government to “do more to ensure that all people are protected and those who harm them are held responsible.”

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Chechnya president again denies gay arrests

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov on Wednesday once again denied reports that more than 100 gay men have been arrested in the semi-autonomous Russian republic.

Kadyrov told Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting that Vesti, a Russian television station, broadcast that “even talking about this is uncomfortable.”

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Joe Biden condemns gay Chechnya arrests

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday condemned the arrests of gay men in Chechnya.

“I am disgusted and appalled by reports from both the Russian media and non-governmental organizations that authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya have rounded up, tortured and even murdered individuals who are believed to be gay,” said Biden in a statement he posted to the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement’s Facebook page. “When faced with such crimes of hate and inhumanity, it is the responsibility of every person of conscience to speak out — to oppose this campaign of violence before it continues further.”

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Elton John says Vladimir Putin called him to discuss gay rights

By : Wire Report
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LONDON (AP) — Elton John says Vladimir Putin has phoned him, after the musician requested a meeting to discuss Russia’s anti-gay environment.

On Instagram, the star said “thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today. I look to forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia.”

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Russian lawmaker sees Apple’s U2 album as gay ‘propaganda’

By : Wire Report
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MOSCOW (AP) – A member of Russia’s parliament has asked prosecutors to determine whether Apple violated Russia’s ban on gay “propaganda” when it delivered U2’s latest album to a half-billion iTunes users for free last year.

Izvestia, a newspaper loyal to the Kremlin, reported April 29 that it has a copy of Alexander Starovoitov’s appeal to prosecutors in which he says the cover of the album Songs of Innocence shows two men “in a display of non-traditional sexual relations.”

In fact, the cover shows the band’s drummer embracing his 18-year-old son, both of them shirtless.

It is not yet clear whether prosecutors will open an investigation.

Some of those in Russia who ridiculed Starovoitov’s appeal drew a comparison to the time in 2006 when President Vladimir Putin kissed a small boy’s bare stomach.

Sochi’s gay social scene still thrives, despite Putin’s crackdown

By : Wire Report
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Sochi, Russia (AP) – A man named Ravil catapults onto the dance floor and starts stomping out the lezginka, the arrogant rooster strut of the Chechen national dance.

Ravil’s spontaneous performance is made even more unusual by the fact he’s in one of the two gay clubs in Sochi, the southern Russian town that will host the Winter Olympics amid Vladimir Putin’s harsh crackdown on gays. The morality campaign – centered on a law banning homosexual “propaganda” – has threatened to overshadow the games as it provokes an international outcry.

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