Russian Pop Star Zelimkhan Bakaev, Tortured and Killed In Chechnya Anti-Gay Roundup


Sources are reporting that Russian singer Zelimkhan Bakaev was arrested, tortured, and murdered by by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality.”

Bakaev was last seen on August 8 in Grozny, where he had come from Moscow for his sister’s wedding

Bakaev’s Instagram account has mysteriously been deleted, but a small Twitter account in his name remains active, offering no recent updates. Earlier this week, Igor Kocketkovof the Russian LGBT Network made a statement to the media that touched on the disappearance, saying:

At the end of August, we received confirmation of our earlier presumption that [Bakaev] was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality.”

A source close to activists in the region have stated that  Bakaev, 26, was tortured to death. “He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours,” they claimed. “Within ten hours he was murdered.”

Earlier this week, Maxim Lapunov became the first victim of Chechnya’s ‘gay purge’ to come forward publicly with claims of abuse at the hands of authorities.

Igor Kocketkov claimed in Monday’s press conference that other individuals in Chechnya’s entertainment industry were subjected to “torture” as the authorities attempted to gain information on Bakayev.

Our hearts break for the family and friends of Zelimkhan Bakaev and to the LGBT community of Russia and Chechnya.  


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73 thoughts on “Russian Pop Star Zelimkhan Bakaev, Tortured and Killed In Chechnya Anti-Gay Roundup

  1. Why should anyone doubt the barbaric nature of these people. I do and will paint them all with the same brush in this post.The Russian human rights violations do not need to be mentioned here. They are historically well documented since WWII. Chechnya as a Federal Republic of Russia has demonstrated a willingness to extend Russian barbarity. I ask myself time and again how a civilized peoples could sit by and allow these atrocities. I question our Sate Department and their myopic vision on granting refugee status to the LGBT communities of these countries. They murder and torture these people ,in most of these cases, not for homosexual acts. They murder and torture because they suspect them of these acts. Using testimony obtained through torture. The peoples of Russia and Chechnya are not a civilized culture, they are animals and should be treated that way for allowing these things to go on and turn a blind eye. Do we need to see furnaces/ovens before the US acts?

    1. As a progressive, pro “love is love”, Russian-American Jew, I find your comment outrageous and scary. I understand and share your anger, but not your reaction to it. What happened to this man is so beyond unacceptable and is absolutely a crime against humanity. But please, and I mean this as one pro-LGBT person to another, don’t fall victim to generalisation and hateful speech. Your point of view deserves better.

      1. I agree with you. Love for all humanity must be in our heart. Then such unspeakable acts of torture will never be accepted by an enlightened human. War begets war and peace, peace.

        1. Because we are, unfortunately, humans, we can never expect to have a world as you describe Luke. And as for Butch Goodwin’s remark, I have been to Russia and met Russians around Europe in my travels and they are as described by Mr. Goodwin.

          1. There are about 140,000,000 Russians in the world. Have you met them all that you can say that all 140 MILLION are “as described’?

          2. I am a Western European, and I have visited Russia many times for more than 15 years. I have not doubt that you could have met some stupid people from Russia, but your confirmation of Butch Goodwin’s grotesque views on the Russian people, based on your poor experience, is utterly silly. Though I am a Westerner, the arrogance that we show when speaking about Russia is just intolerable; and as for violence, I think we are definitely the masters in this field, not the Russians.

          3. So you will just would like to see me imprisoned or killed, just because I am born Russian? Would it make you feel more safe? How many Russian people did you meet to develop such hatred? Which way better you are than those Chechnya’s policemen? I can’t believe that racists like you can talk degrading about other nations and think of yourself as civilized! You believe you are given rights and power to judge another people based on examples of terror they experience and safer from.. so what about American anti-gay groups and violence they bring? Do you watch TV? Do you think maybe that Americans just “less evil”? by percentage maybe? how much would you give?
            Politics in Russia are so suppressive and awful – and here you would think you can find standards for love and protection..
            Ha-ha – here are Dennis and Butch – they will make sure that sacred lands will be purged of “barberic” people – and they can see who is good, who is bad! Well – it’s easy with Russians! – we are apparently all uniformly barberic.

          4. henny, no, the way you view this is flawed and quite naive to be honest. no the confirmation on anyone’s opinion is not silly, it’s very real. the people being tortured don’t give 2 fucks about people “generalizing people” so why should we? they die either way.
            to be quite frank, i beleive that we should generalise people who do that kind of thing then one day other good russians might wake up and say “we don’t want to be judged like this and we don’t want our government to be like this and they might actually make an effort to change things, instead of sitting back and watching it happen and then crying about how people judge them for something they didn’t do and i dont mean the things that he talks about doing to russians, just the judgement on the subject.
            but no i actually despise russia and it’s people atm. how can anyone sit by as their government does these unspeakable things to their own citizens.

            and no alek, he may want that fate for russians but i don’t.
            i just don’t see how you can put what he’s said into anything close to what the gay people in russia have to go through, it’s fucking awful and instead of doing something about it you’re sat on this web page crying because someone hurt your feelings. the difference between butch and the russian government, is that he actually hasn’t done anything about it, sure he’s said some nasty things but has he actually killed anyone? no have your shitty fucking government done anything? yes they’ve tortured and murdered countless people for no valid reason and you sit here preaching?
            nah get fucked. man up and sort your fucking country out before some other country does and you end up being killed in the process…

            you can say i’m being awful but i’m just telling you what will happen if your home doesn’t sort itself out. we’re adults and you think that shit’s acceptable? tells me more about you than it does the people who are judging you.

      1. As much as we have a fad of hating on our own country, we are without a doubt the most humane superpower the world has seen. We don’t come close to atrocities of the past and most certainly don’t come close to what places like Chechnya do.

        We aren’t perfect but if we constantly act like the past was just yesterday then nobody is going to care about being progressive anymore because we’re going to paint all modern Americans as their ancestors.

        1. philiclese,
          Are you really, really sure about that? Torture less? Or, simply outsource that torture to remain anonymous? Not for LGBTQ issues (as if it would make it any better, somehow)? 100% sure about that? Last I checked, police forces are government bodies – be that county, state, or federal. Please, do not be smug. It helps nobody and even retards debate.

    2. Chechnya and Russia have been at war with one another at various points for centuries, so it’s tough to say that Chechnya is incredibly Russian or that it takes its direction from Russia. So far as I’m aware, the rest of Russia has not been conducting a gay purge, even if it’s not that tolerant. As for generalizing about the Chechens and the Russians, I’m not going to say that they’re all terrible people. The Chechens carrying out these purges are definitely atrocious excuses for human beings.

      1. Really? “Russia has not been conducting a gay purge.” is that why they’ve passed laws against gays? Oh, don’t forget the numerous murders and hate crime. Hell, they even have a TV show which follows anti-gay groups as they lured young gay men into traps where they are then humiliated and have pictures posted online.

    3. As a Russian, I take offense to these words, but I also can’t help but agree with certain points that you make. I was fortunate enough to grow up with parents that are accepting and understanding of how people choose to live their lives. At one point in my life I realized that not all Russians grew up with the parents that I had. The amount of hate and misunderstanding that the a percentage of population has about LGBT community is unbelievable! I blame politicians for these issues, would it be Russia, US etc. You can’t say that all Russians are animals and should be treated that way.

      1. yes you can? how many places treat gay people like animals and even lesser so? some places in africa maybe, but most places have evolved and grown up. but russia is sat there toturing innocent people for fun basically and you sit here on a forum spouting shit about you being offended? sort your fucking government out and then talk to us…

    4. Idiot, it’s because they are MUSLIM!!!!
      How many women d they have to torture, beat and stone to death, how many gays do they have to throw off roofs before low IQ leftist tards like you wake up?

      You’re the kind of snowflake, tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist that believes in the Russia hacking the US election nonsense.

  2. The Rainbow Railroad is accredited and has successfully smuggled 35 people out of Chechnya so far – SUPPORT THEM!

      1. No, it’s not prayers that caused this, it’s pure ignorance, and evil that that did. I understand the sentiment of prayers for comfort for the family that is mourning.

    1. Any “prayers” that may have started this are very misguided and definitely not the prayers of Jesus Christ.

  3. Yet Western gays will not condemn the cult of Islam’s hatred of homosexuals. Every week in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other parts of the majority world where Islamic Law of Sharia is the law of the land gays are executed and Western liberals are silent. Shame on you!

    1. you r correct!!!!…. The country is also over 95% Islamic. This large fact fact seems to be ignored. It is not the first time that Islamic states, or radicals, persecuted the LGBT community. I have muslim friends… gay and straight.. and they know who the real enemy is…. those who have hijacked their religion. They speak out… a little.. but they are afraid… which I understand completely.I have a friend whose son who was killed in Egypt after the Arab Spring uprising. The previous administration refused to look into as as ‘they do not interfere with the internal affairs of ‘elected’ governments ( the later deposed Muslim Brotherhood) Jona was a student in Egypt and was killed because he was gay. All his parents received back was a pair of bloody pants). Before you react, his parents are Muslim and Christian. 8 years ago Russia was our friend with the ‘ great reset button’. Easier to blame them than the real enemy. A religion, that has been taken over by zealots and are willing to kill anyone who does not live, act, and believe,as they do; muslim or not. Christianity is not much better, but as history shows, we have gone through periods of reformation and have come to accept others ( to an extent… it is not perfect but Catholics are no longer killing protestants, protestants are no longer killing Lutherans etc). We need to call out the REAL ENEMY and not pussyfoot around it.

    2. All religions are homophobic Christian too. Putin is NOT Muslim. He’s guilty of what’s happening in this Russian republic.

    3. Are you nuts? Do you KNOW any Western gays? Anyone I know condemns homophobia no matter what drives it. What I don’t support is blanket statements about any group of people.

  4. There was a time when the love of money was considered the root of all evil – now the context has changed and it is the love of religion which us the root of all evil and no religion us exempt.

    1. The root of all evil is still the love of money. As money corrupts governments, people turn to religion for guidance and relief. The rich provoke divisive “moral” policies to distract people from how they are being robbed. Money from the wealthy class supports the demagogues, the churches and mosques. Hate is a fire that requires fuel.

    2. It was religion that made people think that money brought evil into their lives therefore convincing their followers to hand their money to the churches so that their souls could be cleansed and saved from the pits of evil and hell. so in the end money is the root of all evil because it leads one to religion

  5. Au 21° siècle la barbarie nazie existe encore sous l’égide de POUTINE grand prince du mensonge et de la cruauté, avec la complicité active de l’EUROPE, qui sous ses airs de démocratie est une Europe profondément extrême droite et homophobe, ne vous y trompez pas. La TCHÉTCHÉNIE, n’est que le petit iceberg des pays de religion musulmane et très très arriéré, la culture individuel est très pauvre, malléable à souhait, le MAROC a notre porte en est un bel exemple, plus de 60% des Marocains sont analphabète en milieu rural. La mondialisation sous l’accord Européen, en union avec ses pays qui achète tout, nous ramène à une histoire ancienne ou nous étions dominé, mais faut-il encore que l’histoire s’apprenne. La CRUAUTÉ en majuscule, n’est qu’à ses prémices, qui s’est enflammé des assassinats en IRAN, en SYRIE et ailleurs ???? Les journalistes ne s’arrachent pas les poumons dans leurs journaux quotidiens pour en divulguer l’info. Non, il vaut mieux parler balance ton porc, c’est plus tendance. Des droits nous sont accordés dans nos pays occidentaux, vigilance doit être de mise, demain tout peu basculer….!!!
    A 60 ans, j’ai appris à ne pas accorder ma confiance comme çà.

    1. popo641ted…you seem to speak with conviction. You seem to know more about this than you are letting on.

  6. My heart breaks for this. Why? You all give your analysis, but it’s all of us who suffer. I don’t pray. I scream inside and wonder what or who next, because there will be another. I just hope, when I am tortured and murdered for who I am, I am strong enough to look them in the eye. Please listen to his song. He was real.

  7. Remember – you’re all idiots.
    Chechnya is and has always been in conflict with Russia it wants its own independence.


    ISLAM ISLAM ISLAM you stupid people with your heads in the sand. ITS ISLAM NOT RUSSIA.

  8. While it’s true that Chechnya is overwhelmingly Islamic, and is engaging in this practice of rounding up and imprisoning, torturing, and even killing people suspected of being gay, Russia is currently considering not just fining people for what they consider to be gay propaganda, but actually criminalizing anything pro-LGBTQ as well, and that is largely being driven by the Russian Orthodox Church, which is a Christian denomination. This isn’t just a Russian thing or a Chechen thing. It’s not just a Christian thing or a Muslim thing. It’s an alarming trend that we’re seeing in other parts of the world as well, like in Uganda, and a lot of these laws criminalizing homosexuality have support from various American evangelical Christian organizations. Chechnya has been particularly harsh in their anti-gay laws, and it shows. They’ve not only criminalized homosexuality, but they’re also doing everything they can to keep gay people from leaving the country to escape the persecution. Martin B (above) posted a link to a group that is helping to get gay refugees out of Chechnya, and I plan on making a donation to the Rainbow Railroad ( to help in their live-saving work.

    I’m American, and while I’ve never been to Chechnya, I have lived and studied in Russia, and I have an aunt from Russia, and most regular, everyday Russians are lovely people, and I’m pretty certain that’s true of most Chechens as well. It’s the religious leaders and governments that are the oppressors, and countries like Canada recognize this and are doing what they can to provide a safe haven for gay refugees from Chechnya, and until or unless the Chechen (and Russian) laws become less oppressive and less anti-gay, we all should do what we can to help, whether that’s spreading the word about what’s happening there, donating to groups like the Rainbow Railroad, or lobbying our own governments to take in gay refugees who are being persecuted and who are in danger of losing their lives just because of who they are. Even if all you do is share this article on Facebook, even that little bit helps spread awareness of what’s going on. Lives are at stake.

  9. Chechnya is a turbulent republic where banditry and Lynch law are an integral part of culture. The culture which is based on traditionalism and Sufi Islam. It’s part of Russia geographically, but culturally it’s very different from the rest of the country. In modern Russia it’s become trendy to have gay friends. Chechnya is different and will never change

  10. What the Hell ?? Are we back in 1940’s Hitler’s Germany were we’re killing people, gays, & people who aren’t ” perfect “? Russia may as well b back in the Stalin Days. Who has given the orders to kill gay’s ? Putin, the Russian Police ?? This is just wrong. I didn’t know The Russian Orthodox Church took the Bible Literally…Oh Ya, so much for Christian understanding…kill them & Stone them. I know Putin is trying to return Russia to Fundamentalist Orthodox ” Values “, but this is far from any kind of ” Value “. I really need to find out Who gave these Orders to Kill Gays. I fought for Civil & Equal Rights in San Francisco 28 years. This is Appauling !!!!!

  11. Ramzan Kadyrov is a disgrace to his nation. Once a rebel fighting for the independence of Chechnya, he turned his back on an entire country – selling them down the river to Russia, in exchange for money, property and the ability to run Chechnya as his personal fiefdom. Ramzan Kadyrov is entirely to blame for all the nastiness in Chechnya. Regarding his assumed hatred of homosexuality well, looks like the lady protests too much. Perhaps Ramzania likes a Walk on the Wilde side?

  12. there is a documentary ion HBO “Welcome to Chechnya” That is not just enlightening it touches on Zelimkhan Bakaev disap[pearance and at others .It also shows the brutality theyu face there.

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