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Moscow Gay Club Destroyed In Siege

In the early hours of October 26th, special forces burst into the theater of Nord-Ost through a wall separating the theater from Tsentral'naya Stantsia 2, an adjacent gay nightclub. The club, which was closed that evening of the storming, had been opened as an addition to the theater complex about a month earlier. Though the extent of damage to the club is unclear, at least one wall was reportedly destroyed. According to Iyla Arbaturov, a co-owner of Tsentral'naya Stantsia 2, three guards were on patrol the evening of the incident. Additionally, a small crew was filming a low-budget film inside night club. The fate of the guards and film crew is unknown.

Because of its close proximity to the theater, the nightclub had apparently been used as an ad-hoc command-post for the Russian police (MVD) during the whole stand-off. Arbaturov had not been allowed inside the premises, even after the siege ended, making it difficult for him to asses the situation. According to Arbaturov, the club was entirely privately funded and all damage was at the club's private loss. He hopes, however, to find solidarity in the gay community, and he thanked those who had supported him, including the St. Petersburg nightclub, Sinners. Contrarily, Arbaturov felt neglected by the authorities. He expressed frustration at being kept, as he called it, "in the dark" about the club's role in the police operation, any damage incurred, and the fate of the people in the club at the time of the storming. He was, however, hopeful about the future of the club. "After some time we will try to be up and the same time, at the same place," Arbaturov said.

Donald Allison

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