NOTE: This article contains disturbing content that may be triggering for some readers.
By Alisher Sidikov and Claire Bigg
Aideo depicting a man being raped with a bottle has surfaced on social media, in what appears to be the latest assault on Russia's beleaguered homosexual community.
The series of short clips, making the rounds on the mobile-phone application WhatsApp show the victim, who seems to be an ethnic Uzbek, being bullied into confessing that he is gay.
He is asked to identify himself and is stripped of his clothes, which are later burned. He is then handcuffed, beaten, insulted, and threatened with a gun. Ultimately, he is forced to sodomize himself by sitting on a bottle, which is then pushed with a bat.
The man, visibly terrified, weeps throughout much of the ordeal.
Viewers on WhatsApp overwhelmingly praised the violence as a well-deserved punishment.
RFE/RL was able to track down a man who claimed to have taken part in the attack.
The Uzbek-speaking source, speaking from Russia, confirms that the victim was targeted because he is gay.
"We made him sit on a bottle so that he repents for his sins and comes to reason," he told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service. "We did this to protect the dignity of Uzbeks. We live and work here, we are in contact with people of different nationalities. There will be no respect for us otherwise."
According to the purported assailant, the attack took place on September 11 in Novosibirsk, where he himself is a student, and all the participants were ethnic Uzbeks.
He says the man was first detained by a group of Russian antigay vigilantes who lured him to a fake date through a social-networking website.
The vigilantes then allegedly handed him to the city's Uzbek community.
"Russian guys caught him and called us to say they had a gay Uzbek," the self-proclaimed author of the video said. "We then questioned him and he confessed to everything. There were six or seven of us. The Russians told us he was a pedophile, which he denied. But he confessed that he was gay."
RFE/RL has seen the video, but was unable to independently verify its authenticity or the identities of those involved.
Police in Novosibirsk say they are not aware of the case.
A police spokesman for the Novosibirsk region told RFE/RL no such attack had been reported in the past.
The assault, however, takes place against the backdrop of an aggressive campaign directed at members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Russia.
Although Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, homophobia is still rampant in the country and attempts to hold Gay Pride parades in Moscow have been brutally crushed by both police and antigay activists.
A recent law banning the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors has triggered a fresh wave of assaults, both verbal and physical, on LGBT people.
A new bill proposes to take children away from homosexual parents.
In August, a video similar to the one apparently shot in Novosibirsk emerged on VKontakte, Russia's biggest social-networking website.
It shows four Russian men viciously beating up what appears to be a transgender woman and attempting to make her sit on a bottle.
The victim ultimately manages to break the bottle and run away.
In this case, too, the clip drew overwhelmingly favorable comments from viewers.
(To read original article, visit this Radio Free Europe link )