Russian food store chain puts up sign saying ‘f*ggots not welcome’
A large chain of Russian food stores has declared its opposition to allowing gay people to enter its branches.
The chain, owned by Russian businessman German Sterligov, who is devoutly religious, has put anti-gay signs up in its windows.
Sterligov’s store in central Moscow declared “No entry for faggots” on a wooden plate at the entrance.
The 50-year-old businessman became a millionaire after he opened a mercantile exchange just before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993, but in recent years the atmosphere around LGBT issues has become hostile.
Back in 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law which bans the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships”.
Speaking to Reuters at a county fair outside of Moscow, Sterligov said: “Our planet is full of filth and sick humans.”
Referring to the Old Testament, he added: “In front of our eyes is the historical experience of Sodom and Gomorrah when God burned these towns.”
Going on, Sterligov also praised Donald Trump for rescinding federal guidance protecting trans students in their use of gender-appropriate bathrooms.
“We thank him. May God give him health,” Sterligov added.
One young shop assistant in one of Sterligov’s Moscow stores, Alyona, told Reuters that she shared the owner’s views “as a true Christian… It’s our guarding talisman”.
Yulia Gorbunova, a Human Rights Watch researcher criticised the stance, saying it is dangerous in a society where gay people are already persecuted.
“It seems like they are promoting homophobia in an already homophobic society and it only leads to rising tensions,” she told Reuters.
“The state certainly has a responsibility to stop that and step in.”
In Chechnya, where an anti-LGBT “purge” has been taking place, earlier this week an investigative committee from Russia found the site had been moved and was derelict.
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The location of the original camp was buried and covered with construction debris, with nobody on the site.
The Russian LGBT Network fear the men have been moved away to a new prison.
A number of heart-breaking stories from the region have been shared, including stories of parents of gay people who were issued a warning to kill their children before police killed them in torture camps.
Tanya Lokshina, from the Human Rights Watch, said that Chechen authorities had been conducting “extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture and cruel and degrading treatment” over the span of the last two decades.
Britain’s deputy foreign secretary revealed the terrifying threat from the Chechen leader while taking an urgent question on the situation in parliament last month.