A photograph has emerged which is believed to show the 23-year-old gay man tortured and killed in a brutal attack in Russia on Friday.

A report by the International Business Times names the man as Vladislav Tornovoi.

The naked and beaten body of the 23-year-old was found in the courtyard of an apartment building in Volgograd on Friday morning, a spokeswoman for regional investigators told AFP.

The report suggests that he had suffered multiple injuries to his body, including to his genitals, and that he had been sexually assaulted with beer bottles.

“He was raped with beer bottles and had his skull smashed with a stone,” said Natalia Kunitskaya, a spokeswoman for the Volgograd region branch of the Investigative Committee.

She went on to admit that the attack was believed to have been a hate crime, which was noted as a rare admission from Russian law enforcement agencies on the issue of homophobia in the country.

A Saturday statement from the Moscow-based Investigative Committee confirmed that two men aged 22 and 27 had been detained in connection with the attack. One of the suspects has a criminal history, the statement said.

It went on to say that they thought the victim had been drinking with two men, apparently while celebrating Victory Day, a national holiday in Russia held on 9 May.

Regional Investigator Andrei Gapchenko, said the men started beating the victim when he told them he was gay.

His death has concerned activists, who say prejudice is becoming more concentrated due to anti-gay laws.

Gay rights proponent Nikolai Alexeyev, a major figure in LGBT activism in Russia, said: “This monstrous incident in Volgograd demonstrates the fruits of the homophobic policy that is being conducted in this country, including the initiative to ban homosexual propaganda.

Alexeyev told the Moscow Times: “Political figures have provoked anti-gay sentiment by portraying the gay community as a bunch of freaks. They are accomplices in the killing.”

In January the Russian State Duma adopted the first reading of a homophobic censorship bill which would impose federal sanctions for the promotion of “gay propaganda”, similar to those passed in several regions of Russia, including St Petersburg.