The Russian President has enlisted the help of the prosecutor general and the interior minister.
By
Michaela Morgan

9 May 2017 - 10:55 AM  UPDATED 9 May 2017 - 10:55 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed an investigation into reports of the persecution of gay men in the autonomous region of Chechnya, according to the BBC

Moscow based newspaper Novaya Gazeta broke the story in April, reporting that that over 100 gay men had disappeared and at least three people had been killed.

After pressure from the international community—including German Chancellor Angela Merkel—President Putin has announced that he will be enlisting the Russian prosecutor general and the interior minister to assist Kremlin rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova.

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“We have received negative reports on the way that homosexuals are dealt with in Chechnya particularly, and I asked President Putin to use his influence to [help] gay people in the region.”

Moskalkova had requested a working group to be set up in Russia—not Chechnya—to “take complaints from citizens.”

There are concerns about how seriously Putin is treating the investigation with the president referring to the reports as "rumours, you could say, about what is happening in our North Caucasus with people of non-traditional orientation".

The news comes as the situation is reportedly worsening in Chechnya, with authorities threatening families, telling them to kill their gay sons

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“Your son is a homosexual—sort it out or we’ll do it ourselves.”

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov continues to deny that gay men have been detained by police saying that LGBT+ people do not exist in the region.

“We have never had them among the Chechens. Unless we are talking about those who aren't Chechens but say they are so that they can get to the West," the leader told Interfax news agency. 

“Chechen society does not have this phenomenon called non-traditional sexual orientation.

"For thousands of years, the people have lived by other rules, prescribed by God," Kadyrov said.