St Petersburg was named the most tolerant city in Russia towards LGBTI people, according to a recent survey.
The survey, conducted by Zoom Market, asked 2400 people in twenty cities in the Russian Federation. They were asked two questions: ‘how do you feel about sexual minorities?’ and ‘are there any representatives of sexual minorities among your friends?’
St Petersburg responded most favorably, followed by Novosibirsk, then the capital of Moscow. Bottom of the list is Kazan, Chelyabinsk and Saratov.
Persecution across the country
However, the situation for LGBTI people is not great in St Petersburg or the rest of Russia. Across the country, the so-called anti-LGBTI propaganda laws have lead to the country-wide ban of any queer event, including prides.
In 2018, 30 people in St Petersburg attempted to organize a Pride march. However, they were arrested by police at Palace Square as soon as they arrived. 13 of them received a fine.
A state-run survey that same year found that 63% of people questioned believed that LGBTI groups were attempting to ‘ruin the spiritual values’ of the nation.
A Russian website turned the hunting and torturing of gay people into a game. ‘Hunters’ were asked to do tasks, one of which included the kidnapping of gay people before delivering them to Chechnya.
Perhaps most disturbingly of all, the northern territory of Chechnya has been accused of the imprisonment, torture and – in some cases – murder of hundreds of LGBTI people.
Only this weekend, Gay Star News joined the protests at London by the Russian Embassy to demand the government take action against the region.