Witness: Beaten for Being Gay in Russia – Andrey’s Story



Excerpt from Andrey’s story:

“Despite Russia’s January cold, hundreds of people packed the central square in Voronezh, an eight hour drive south of Moscow, for the planned LGBT rights protest. When Andrey Nasonov arrived, he saw a bus of riot police and several police cars, and quickly realized most of the crowd likely didn’t support LGBT rights. Only a dozen were activists, like him. In short order, he heard a scream and saw a rainbow flag. Thinking he was late for the protest, he began running towards the flag while unfurling his poster that read, “Stop hate.”

Spotting Andrey, bystanders began pelting him with snowballs. He saw a group of people break free from the crowd and sprint towards the activists. Two rushed him, pushed him to the ground and began kicking him in the head, neck, and shoulders. He curled into the fetal position. When he felt the kicking stop, he tried to get up, but lost consciousness. His boyfriend, Igor, tried to revive him, and he briefly came to, thinking that he needed to open his second “stop hate” poster, but it fell out of his hands. He fell down and began convulsing.”