Fine Gael "disappointed" with Russian Ambassador's response over reported LGBT purge

Senator Jerry Buttimer said he was met with "a metaphorical brick wall"

A Fine Gael senator has met the Russian ambassador to Ireland to discuss the ongoing issue of the reported detention of gay men in Chechnya.

Earlier this month, the Russian LGBT Network confirmed to NPR that they had assisted in evacuating 40 men detained in the region, where gay men are reportedly being tortured.

However, Russian embassy official in Israel Dmitry Alushkin said no LGBT people have been persecuted in Chechyna, calling it a “a propaganda campaign against Russia around the world."

Fine Gael Senator for Cork Jerry Buttimer met with the Russian Ambassador, Maxim Peshkov, in Leinster House this morning to discuss the issues, and said he was met with "brick wall".

“During the meeting with the Ambassador I strongly condemned the mistreatment and detainment of over 100 gay men as widely reported in recent weeks," Senator Buttimer said in a statement. 

“Action must be taken to help those that have been targeted by this wave of violence and the perpetrators of these abuses must be held accountable.

“I was disappointed that at the meeting we were met with a metaphoric brick wall. The ambassador - continuing with the incredulous line taken by other Russian officials on LGBT issues - stated 'there is no discrimination against gay people in Russia'.

“Although I was disappointed with the Ambassador’s lack of willingness to work to promote equality, I hope this meeting is a step in a positive direction to engage in future open dialogue regarding LGBT issues in Russia," he concluded.

Senator Jerry Buttimer was the first openly gay politician to be elected in Ireland.

"Fake" Chechens

Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov has previously denied that there have ever been any gay men to persecute in the region, instead calling them “fake” Chechens.

Kadyrov has insisted that he will cooperate with a Russian investigation into the discovery of persecution against gay people in the region, but denied that any gay people actually existed.

Kadyrov said: “We have never had them among the Chechens.”

“Unless we are talking about those who aren’t Chechens but say they are so that they can get to the West.”

“Chechen society does not have this phenomenon called non-traditional sexual orientation. For thousands of years the people have lived by other rules, prescribed by God,” he added.

Chechnya's regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov speaks in front of a portrait of his father Akhmad Kadyrov. Image: Musa Sadulayev/AP/Press Association Images

Human Rights Watch

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has confirmed the allegations of abuse in a report, citing on-the-ground sources.

In its report, HRW said: “The information published by Novaya Gazeta is consistent with the reports Human Rights Watch recently received from numerous trusted sources, including sources on the ground.

“The number of sources and the consistency of the stories leaves us with no doubt that these devastating developments have indeed occurred.”