Russian Gay Club Manager Seeks Asylum In US After Attacks
The former manager of Central Station, Moscow’s biggest gay nightclub came to the United States last month and is seeking asylum, after the club was the target of a number of violent attacks in recent months.
In an exclusive report by the Washington Blade, Arkady Gyngazov, who is currently in Washington, D.C., says a pro bono lawyer has taken his case and that he is also working with Larry Poltavtsev of Spectrum Human Rights, which keeps track of the Kremlin’s LGBT rights record.
"I’m not going to go back to Russia because I feel my safety, even my life, is threatened," Gyngazov said to the Blade’s Michael Lavers. He added that he will formally seek asylum once his visa expires in June.
According to the Blade article, Gyngazov, 32, who was the manger of the Central Station nightclub grew up in the Siberian city of Tomsk and moved to Moscow in 2006. He told the newspaper he is not out to his family even though he knew he was gay since he was a child.
He also said that being gay in Russia was easier in the 90s than now and was shocked when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the "homosexual propaganda" legislation into law.
"He’s making a dictatorship, like the Soviet Union two," Gyngazov told the Blade.
In recent months, Central Station has been the site of several publicized attacks.