Moscow’s biggest gay club Central Station will be closing down following a series of violent attacks on the building and its patrons. In the past six months, Central Station has been the victim of arson attacks as well as an attempt by perpetrators to release a noxious gas into the club. On one occasion, a mob of around 100 men entered building, dismantled the ceiling and stole the club’s equipment.
The decision comes just months after the club’s co-owner Andrei Lishchinsky stepped down from his position as chief executive. Lishchinsky has claimed that none of the 30 complaints lodged with the Moscow City Police have been investigated. In a letter to President Vladimir Putin, he wrote: “These actions were obviously motivated by hatred toward representatives of the LGBT community and had a clear extremist tone.”
According to human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch, homophobic violence in Russia has risen since the passage of a “gay propaganda” law in June 2013. Signalling his unwillingness to accept the law, last November, Andre Leon Talley, editor of fashion magazine Numéro Russia and a contributing editor to US Vogue, refused offers of a six-month pay advance. Talley has since announced his resignation, in part prompted by a ban on one of his covers featuring a nude male model.
Talley said: “The one thing that really impacted me was Rachel Maddow’s reporting last winter on the anti-LGBT laws in Russia. There are no civil rights for people there. That’s one of my reason for departing.”