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In cases we documented, when police did open criminal investigations, they were dismissive and reluctant to investigate effectively, often blaming victims for the attacks.Even when perpetrators were detained immediately after the attack, police did little to protect victims.Twenty-two victims interviewed by Human Rights Watch told us they developed anxiety and became depressed as a result of the attacks.Others said they stayed at home because they were too frightened to go outside.The report analyzes the authorities’ overall lack of a proper response to such violence.LGBT people in Russia face stigma, harassment, and violence in their everyday lives, and most people who spoke with Human Rights Watch said that this intensified in 2013.
The law effectively legalizes discrimination based on sexual orientation.
There has also been an increase in attacks on LGBT activists, and anti-gay groups have used the 2013 law to justify mounting campaigns of harassment and intimidation of LGBT teachers and other school or college staff to get them fired from their jobs.
Although Russian law enforcement agencies have the tools to prosecute homophobic violence, there appears to be no will to do so and no policy or instructions from the leadership to take homophobic violence seriously.
In addition to lasting emotional trauma, some vigilantes’ victims also described the physical injuries they sustained, including bone fractures and facial injuries.
In other cases, LGBT people described being physically attacked by strangers on the subway, on the street, at nightclubs, and, in one case, at a job interview.
Its passage coincided with a ratcheting up of homophobic rhetoric in state media and an increase in homophobic violence around the country.