The Caucasian Knot and Russian- and English-language news website Meduza report that Russian security officials have used blackmail to recruit gay men in the North Caucasus region to carry out missions in Syria.
The North Caucasus region of the Federation includes Chechnya, its neighbor Daghestan, and five other states. The dominant religions in the region are Islam (Sunni) and Christianity (Russian Orthodox). Salafism, an ultra-conservative reform branch of Islam, is on the rise in the region.
From the June 5 article:
In a new interview with the website The Caucasian Knot, a Salafi man says he fled Dagestan after agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) tried to blackmail him into accepting a special mission in Syria.
The man, identifying himself only as Ruslan, says he was stopped in the street in late 2013 in the city of Derbent and brought to a hotel, where FSB agents showed him a secretly filmed video that revealed him being intimate with another man.
The officers reportedly told Ruslan that they would inform all his friends and relatives that he is gay if he refused to work for the FSB in Syria. In Russia’s North Caucasus, gay people are sometimes murdered by their own families when their sexual orientations are revealed.
Note: I added the links in the quoted text above to provide quick references for readers unfamiliar with the political and religious landscape of the North Caucasus. They were not in the original article.
You can read the complete article at Russian security forces reportedly recruit gay Muslim men in the North Caucasus through blackmail — Meduza
Learn how to help individuals trying to escape anti-LGBT persecution in the North Caucuses at Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens.
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Find answers to frequently asked questions about the situation in Chechnya and the organizations helping sexual minorities in the Russian Caucasus here: FAQ on Russian LGBT Network and gays in Chechnya.
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