Police officers in the Sverdlovsk region of Russia have refused to take action to protect LGBTQ citizens against hate speech.
Anna Plyusnina – who is a lawyer for the LGBT Resource Center – alerted the authorities to anti-LGBTQ hate speech left in the comments section on local news sites.
The language used insulted gay people, promoted so-called gay conversion therapy, and went as far to threaten LGBTQ people with physical violence.
Despite, the aggressive language aimed at LGBTQ people, police concluded that they did not have a responsibility to act in this instance.
They claimed that the threats were “not addressed to any group of people on the grounds of ethnic, racial, religious, or social identity,” and so they did not violate any laws.
Officials then told Plyusnina that if she disagrees with their decision, she can take the issue to the district attorney or to the courts.
However, according to Meduza, Plyusnina has decided against that option as she doesn’t want to perpetuate Russia’s increasing tendency to imprison internet users.
She added that she wasn’t trying to get the perpetrators arrested, but rather wanted the anti-LGBTQ comments to be deleted.
What is most concerning about this instance is that Russian authorities have openly admitted that they do not see the LGBTQ community as a recognised group.
This comes weeks after Russia was criticised by 15 countries over its “inadequate” response to the anti-gay purge in Chechnya last year.
The purge drew international condemnation, and Russia was forced to launch an investigation into it.
However, in May their investigation claimed to have found no evidence of LGBTQ people existing in the region.