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1997 News & Events

Russia: Police Forces Crack Down on Gay Club

29 July 1997. Heavily-armed OMON riot police from the Interior Ministry's Southeastern Anti-Drug Division, stormed the popular Moscow nightclub Chance the early Saturday morning, beating patrons and saying they had received a tip that someone in the club was selling drugs, club owners said. Coincidentally, the predominantly gay club, located on Ploshchad Ilycha in eastern Moscow, was at the time hosting an anti-drug fashion show. At first, the crowd, which contained a number of foreigners, thought the OMON's arrival was part of the show.

Some 450 patrons were in the club at the time. "Every third or fourth person was searched for drugs," said Sasha Novikov, whose nose was broken when police slammed his face into the wall. Riot police armed with automatic weapons ordered patrons onto the floor. The club's disc jockey was hit in the face with the butt of a gun, Novikov said. Despite repeated requests by the club's management, police showed no identification. No drugs were found, club owners said.

Some 40 people were taken away. One group of 27 club-goers were taken to a sobering-up facility, where a doctor produced documents for them to sign, in which they effectively confessed to having taken drugs. Beaten and intimated, they all signed the documents and were released, said Sukhrab Avliyekulov, one of those detained. A second group of 11 spent six hours behind bars before being taken to the Narcological Hospital No. 17. Blood and urine samples were taken, which confirmed the absence of narcotics and the group was released after some 12 hours in custody, Avliyekulov said.

The club's director said he believes the raid was connected to a dispute with the Serp i Molot factory, which wants to turn the state-owned Palace of Culture in which the nightclub is housed into a business center, restaurant and casino complex.

The Moscow Times

Ukraine: Poll Results Still Disappoint

14 November 1997. Gallup, an institute for social studies, polled 1200 persons representing the basic social and demographic categories of the adult population of the Ukraine. The question was - Do you agree that gay and lesbian clubs and associations must be prohibited?

  • Agree completely or "rather agree" - 37 %
  • Definitely disagree or "rather disagree" - 21 %
  • Equivocal or uncertain answer - 44 %

Newspaper "Den" ("Day")

Ukraine: Spiritual Sun Has Risen for Gays

Apostolic mission "The Rising Sun" has a motto "The Unity is in Christ". It is a Christian society for gay-believers. The Mission have began it's activities in April, 1997. Nowadays it includes 30 members. The appeal of "The Rising Sun" says, 'It's an unique Christian mission in Ukraine which supports those who were rejected by all religion communities. Our aim is spiritual and moral support to everyone. We strive for kindness, participation and understanding. We can help you to realize that you have the right to believe, to love, and to have hope. As well as Christians all over the world, in spite of your sexual distinction."

Our World

Ukraine: Hands to Hands Action

Late spring - early summer 1997 the editorial board of "One of Us" (Ukrainian gay magazine) in cooperation with the Civil Human Rights Protection Committee implemented a joint project "Hands to hands". It included free distribution of copies of "One of Us" magazine to gay groups in remote parts of the Ukraine, as well to groups in neighboring Belarus and Moldova. The cover letter said: "This is a free issue of the magazine. Its purpose is to inform a wider circle of homosexuals in remote areas. We address gay activists all over the Ukraine. We ask you to share these two copies among your circle of friends so that more gays could find contacts among themselves."

According to one of the chiefs of the project, 500 packages with 2 copies of the magazine in each were dispatched. Based on their results it was possible to determine more than 43 informal actively existing groups all over Ukraine and about 8 - 12 possible gay centers to open in the future. "This project, together with "One of Us" magazine and its regular issues, promotes a more active formation of an active gay environment, which in the near future can be perceived as a unified organization. Though begun as an acquaintances service, as a result of it there are new contacts between the closed groups of our gay community." To date, the fourth issue of "One of Us" magazine is currently available.

Our World

Ukraine: "Soyuzpechat" Press Agency Sells Gay Magazine

Early in 1997 the "Odyn Z Nas" (ONE OF US) magazine appeared on newsstands in a few areas of Ukraine. According to its editor-in-chief, Leonid Nefedovich, the Kharkov branch of the Agency was the only the only one that has turned down the offer to distribute the journal.

This can surely viewed as a big and important breakthrough in the sphere of accessibility of the information about gays for the wide public and as a token of the going-on democratization of the society.

Our World

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