Zelim Bakaev is a young pop star from Chechnya, Russia. On 8th of August 2017 he vanished.
The young singer went to the Chechen Republic to go to his sister’s wedding. He was kidnapped from the road and has not been seen since. Zelim’s mom wanted Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Chechnya, to investigate and search for answers about the kidnapping of Zelim.
But till today, more than a year later nothing has happened. Not only for the young star. That counts for every other victim of the “gay purge” in the Chechen Republic.
What’s happening in the Chechen Republic?
In 2017 Kadyrov started to actively encourage extrajudicial killings of gay men by relatives as an alternative to legal persecution – at times, gay men in jail have been discharged early particularly to enable their murder by relatives.
In April 2017, global media reported that gay men in Chechnya were being captured, confined and tormented as a major aspect of a district wide “gay purge”. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 5 May that he would check the revealed allegations. So far nothing has changed.
Chechnya itself has denied the reports, with its inside clergyman considering the assertions an “April Fools’ joke”.
In an interview with Vice, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied the existence of gay people in his country, saying:
“We don’t have those kind of people here. We don’t have any gays. If there are any take them to Canada. Praise be to God. Take them far from us so we don’t have them at home. To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them.”
On this solemn anniversary, LGBTQ rights group All Out is promising not to forget Zelim and to keep battling for the truth.