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A demonstrator in Paris holds a placard depicting Russian president Vladimir Putin with the label "Stop Homophobia" to denounce the anti-gay campaign launched in the Russian province of Chechnya (April 20, 2017) Rainbow Railroad's executive director, Kimahli Powell, told NBC News his group is working directly with the Russian LGBT Network "to help bring people who have fled Chechnya to Russia out of safety."Svetlana Zakharova, communications manager at the Russian LGBT Network, confirmed the two organizations are working together."We also do this work all year round supporting LGBTQ people at risk," said Powell in an email to NBC News."Monies raised will go towards direct travel assistance getting people to safety."Related: Kidnapping, Torture, Murder: Refugees Speak of Chechnya's Anti-Gay Purge Reports first surfaced of a state-sponsored, violent campaign against Chechen men who are suspected of being gay or bisexual — which is highly taboo in Chechnya.

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The Chechens' subsequent attempts at gaining independence after the 1917 fall of the Russian Empire failed, and in 1922 Chechnya became part of Soviet Russia and in December 1922 part of the newly formed Soviet Union (USSR).

In 1936, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin established the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.

Two online fundraisers have pulled in more than $100,000 for the LGBTQ humanitarian crisis in Chechnya.

One of the fundraisers, titled "Helping Gay Men Flee Chechnya," raised $93,499 in just six days. The charity drives were launched on Facebook's new Fundraisers feature, and all proceeds will go to American Friends of Rainbow Railroad — the American non-profit arm of the Canadian organization that works to help LGBTQ refugees in crisis.

The marriage provoked outrage in Russia, fuelled by Moscow's child rights commissioner, Pavel Astakhov, who defended the wedding by saying that Caucasian women 'are all shrivelled with wrinkles by the age of 27'. In response to the remarks, young women online posted selfies on Instagram with the hashtag #Wrinkled Woman in which they scrunched up their faces to simulate the appearance of wrinkles.

Last modified 08-Nov-2017 11:53