Russian Gay Dating App Blocked in Sochi; Users Sent Threats of Arrest

The founder and CEO of Hunters, a gay hook-up app popular in Russia which bears similarities to Grindr, tells Towleroad that the app came under an attack by hackers.

Dmitry T (his last name is being withheld at his request, for security reasons), writes:

The anonymous threat which read, „You will be arrested and jailed for gay propaganda in Sochi according to Russian Federal Law #135 Sektion 6“ was sent on February 1st, 2014 at 11:52 pm to all users in Russia, including those in Sochi.Hunters is blocked in Sochi and Adler now, and some 72,000 user profiles were deleted throughout Russia. Hackers completely destroyed their profiles and all their messages.“On the morning of February 2nd, just a few days before the opening of the Olympic Games, users trying to open this gay app in Sochi were greeted with an alert saying that their profile was blocked for the next 55,000 minutes (38 days).

It looks like the Russian Government decided to take full control of the Internet and implement Turkish practices where Grindr has been banned for almost half a year. I think that this attack is connected to increasing censorship of the Internet and very soon other gay dating resources in Russia will face similar team was able to restore 24% of the profiles after 12 long hours. All other profiles were unable to be restored. In order to protect our users from future injustice, we have started moving our servers from Russia to Europe and are planning to finish this process within the next 3-5 days. Therefore, Hunters users may face further disruptions in the coming days.I urge the entire gay community and all of those who consider the Internet to be a free zone to boycott not only Russian vodka but also everything that is linked to the Olympics and not to buy any Olympic souvenirs.“This attack should be looked at as an attack on the worldwide gay community with the goal of blocking any gay interactions during the Winter Games in Sochi, including those between athletes and locals.

Dmitry provided screenshots of the alleged attack to Towleroad.

If anyone can provide verification of the attack to us please email at tips-at-towleroad-dot-com or leave a note using the ‚tips‘ link on the right-hand side of the site any additional info would be much appreciated.

Dmitry also provided screenshots of user complaints to their support after the app was hacked.

Filed Under: NewsRussia Tagged With: HuntersHuntersNewsRussiaSochi OlympicsSochi Olympics

Gay and Russian: ‘It’s hunting season, we are the hunted’

The level of hostility towards gay people in Russia right now is eye-watering, writes Liz MacKean on the eve of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Crawling through the morning traffic in St Petersburg, I was greeted with a surprising sight in the car alongside: a young man was staring intently at images of naked women in a magazine propped up on his steering wheel. Had those been images of young men, he’d have been breaking the law.

The propaganda law, passed unanimously last summer, has been widely condemned as isolating Russia‘s gay, lesbian and transgender community. But one often-overlooked feature of it is that it is now illegal to make even “neutral” references to under 18s about “non-traditional” relations. In other words, the only acceptable public comments are bound to be negative.

And the level of hostility towards gay people is eye-watering. In St Petersburg we met Timur Isaev, a married father of one. His group, Parents of Russia, targets gay and lesbian teachers. He offers cash to anyone who gives him information: “This is Russia. This is hell for homosexuals,” he tells us laughingly. “…they should get used to it.”

You don’t have to be gay to be in Timur’s sights. One of his targets is Yekaterina Bogatch, whose offence was to join a demonstration against the increasingly violent attacks on Russia’s LGBT community. She is now under official investigation and might lose her job.

“There comes a moment when you realise that you can no longer keep quiet,” she told us. “Otherwise you simply start to lose self-respect.”

She is “not a good person,” insists Timur, “she may be a good teacher but she is a bad person.”

Other groups are taking their loathing even further. There are more than 30 branches of “Occupy Paedophilia” across Russia. The sequences filmed by our director Ben Steele with the St Petersburg group are the most harrowing in our programme. Led by a woman, Katya Zigunova, they organise what they call “safaris”. They use social media to entice gay men on dates, luring them to a flat where they are attacked and humiliated.

Gay and Russian: ‘It’s hunting season, we are the hunted’

Russian website for hunting gay people finally taken down

The Russian website encouraged users to hunt and torture gay people in a „game“ based on the Saw movies.

A website designed to help users to hunt and torture Russian gay people has finally been taken down by authorities after more than a year online.

The “game” was based on the Saw horror movie franchise, and encouraged users to upload the details of LGBT+ people, including photos and addresses, for others to find and attack.

The name of the operation was “Chechnya’s comeback,” a reference to the gay “purge” in Chechnya which saw at least 200 gay people held in secret prisons throughout the region in the summer of 2017 and at least 26 killed.

The website charged fees for users to get access to the information to “play the game,” and extorted those whose details were online, charging them fees to have their information removed.

According to the Russian LGBT Network: “A homophobic group began to operate in Russia, organising the hunt for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people, in the spring of 2018.”

Although the website has now been taken down, its creators have not been identified.

Russian website for hunting gay people finally taken down

A travel guide to Russia if you’re LGBTQI

If you’re LGBTQI, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it might be best to steer clear of Russia on your travels, given the country’s hardline stance on sexual orientations that aren’t heteronormative. While same-sex relationships are legal in Russia, public expressions of homosexuality are frowned upon, backed up by anti-gay propaganda legislation. Homophobic attacks have also increased since the law was introduced in 2013.

Despite this, there’s a thriving, if outwardly discreet gay scene in St Petersburg and Moscow if you know where to look for it. So even if you’re there for a quick visit, like Richard Ayoade and actor/comedian Greg Davies’ Travel Man Moscow sojourn, you can have a rewarding time.

But you’ll need to practise discretion, vigilance and general commonsense while travelling in Russia. Here’s what you need to know to make your trip as smooth as possible.

A travel guide to Russia if you’re LGBTQI

Russia gay travel: is it safe for LGBTQ travellers?

My “coming out” song back in February 2003 was “All The Things You Said”, a pop hit by Russian girl band t.A.T.u, who was marketed as a lesbian couple. For the video of this song, the two band members, Lena Katina and Julia Volkova, were running around in the rain dressed in schoolgirl outfits and kissing, making out in the rain.

Obviously the band were (quite successfully!) targeting a very specific heterosexual male demographic! But despite this, the very fact that such a public homosexual image was being shown and accepted across Russian society in the early 2000s speaks volumes about attitudes to LGBTQ in Russian society…

In this gay travel guide to Russia, we discuss the situation in relation to LGBTQ rights, how it has evolved over the past decade, and where it stands today for the gay Russian community. We also write about our first-hand experience exploring the country as a gay couple together with all our safety tips for fellow LGBTQ travelers who plan to visit Russia.

Over the past few years, the Russian government has been monitoring and censoring online use more and more. For your peace of mind, make sure you get a VPN so that you can use all your favourite gay dating apps and surf the web anonymously whilst in Russia.

Russia gay travel: is it safe for LGBTQ travellers?

Gay Dating

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Channel 4’s Hunted – the Russian gangs who hunt gays for sport

A few days before the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the safety of the Russian gay community is worse than ever. Channel 4’s harrowing new documentary, Hunted, follows the Russian gangs that hunt gay men for sport.

Investigative journalist Liz MacKean got inside the St Petersburg branch of Occupy Paedophilia, an anti-gay organisation with at least 37 chapters across Russia. The group tracks down and abducts gay men, torturing and humiliating them, before posting the footage on the internet.

Despite some low-tech harassment outside a gay film festival, the vigilantes aren’t afraid of using technology to hunt their prey – they use gay dating websites for what they call ‘safaris’, attempting to lure gay men to a flat where they wait in ambush.

Most of the group don’t seem concerned to hide their identities, unworried that their actions might have repercussions. MacKean explained to on Monday that they enjoy huge public support in Russia, and “genuinely think they’re doing right.”

In the film, showing off for the camera, the group find a man looking for a hookup, and lure him back to the flat. He is caught and held down, as the group set about extracting a confession from him. “We will ruin his life, as usual”, one quips.

Cameraman and director Ben Steele carried on filming despite the man’s discomfort, and recalled the horror of being unable to help him. He said on Monday: “It was deeply uncomfortable not knowing what was going to happen. The only way I could cope with being in that situation was to document it.”

The group humiliate the man, coercing him into an ‘interview’ about his sexuality, and forcing him to dance. Compared to some of the other victims of the vigilante groups, he is lucky; being beaten and drenched in urine is the standard humiliation, but some of the assaults have been much, much worse.

Another man, Dima, was left blinded in one eye after an attack by an anti-gay group. He says he can almost understand why the groups target gay men, as the country’s anti-gay propaganda law silences anyone who speaks positively or neutrally about gay rights: “First they stopped us responding, and then they called us paedophiles and rapists.”

Across town a lesbian couple, Yulia and Svette, live in constant fear that they will be targeted, or that their three children from previous marriages will be taken away from them under the propaganda law. They are tired of hiding their relationship, but make clear they will fight to keep their children. “They’d have to shoot me first,” Yulia says.

MacKean agrees that the constant negative reinforcement that gay people are paedophiles is making things worse, and is held up by an ‘unholy alliance’ of President Putin and the ultra-conservative Russian Orthodox Church.

She said: “The fact that just 1% of the gay population dares to live openly shows how bad the problem is.”

Fraudsters Automate Russian Dating Scams

Virtually every aspect of cybercrime has been made into a service or plug-and-play product. That includes dating scams — among the oldest and most common of online swindles. Recently, I had a chance to review a package of dating scam emails, instructions, pictures, videos and love letter templates that are sold to scammers in the underground, and was struck by how commoditized this type of fraud has become.

The dating scam package is assembled for and marketed to Russian-speaking hackers, with hundreds of email templates written in English and a variety of European languages. Many of the sample emails read a bit like choose-your-own-adventure texts, featuring decision templates that include advice for ultimately tricking the mark into wiring money to the scammer.

The romance scam package is designed for fraudsters who prey on lonely men via dating Web sites and small spam campaigns. The vendor of the fraud package advertises a guaranteed response rate of at least 1.2 percent, and states that customers who average 30 scam letters per day can expect to earn roughly $2,000 a week. The proprietor also claims that his method is more than 20% effective within three replies and over 60% effective after eight.

One of hundreds of sample template files in the dating scam package.

The dating scam package advises customers to stick to a tried-and-true approach. For instance, scammers are urged to include an email from the mother of the girl in the first 10 emails between the scammer and a target. The scammer often pretends to be a young woman in an isolated or desolate region of Russia who is desperate for a new life, and the email from the girl’s supposed mother is intended to add legitimacy to the scheme.

Then there are dozens of pre-fabricated excuses for not talking on the phone, an activity reserved for the final stretch of the scam when the fraudster typically pretends to be stranded at the airport or somewhere else en route to the target’s home town.

“Working with dozens of possible outcomes, they carefully lay out every possible response, including dealing with broke guys who fell in love online,” said Alex Holden, the security expert who intercepted the romance scam package. “If the mark doesn’t have money, the package contains advice for getting him credit, telling the customer to restate his love and discuss credit options.”

A sample letter with multiple-choice options for creating unique love letter greetings.

Interestingly, although Russia is considered by many to be among the most hostile countries toward homosexuals, the makers of this dating scam package also include advice and templates for targeting gay men.

Also included in the dating scam tutorial is a list of email addresses and pseudonyms favored by anti-scammer vigilantes who try to waste the scammers’ time and otherwise prevent them from conning real victims. In addition, the package bundles several photos and videos of attractive Russian women, some of whom are holding up blank signs onto which the scammer can later Photoshop whatever message he wants.

Holden said that an enterprising fraudster with the right programming skills or the funds to hire a coder could easily automate the scam using bots that are programmed to respond to emails from the targets with content-specific replies.

The romance scam package urges customers to send at least a dozen emails to establish a rapport and relationship before even mentioning the subject of traveling to meet the target. It is in this critical, final part of the scam that the fraudster is encouraged to take advantage of criminal call centers that staff women who can be hired to play the part of the damsel in distress.

“When you get down to the final stage, there has to be a crisis, some compelling reason why the target should you send the money,” said Holden, founder of Hold Security [full disclosure: Yours Truly is an uncompensated adviser to Holden’s company]. “Usually this is something like the girl is stranded at the airport or needs money to get a travel visa. There has to be some kind of distress situation for this person to be duped into wiring money, which can be anywhere between $200 and $2,000 on average.”

Crooked call centers like the one pictured in the screen shot above employ male and female con artists who speak a variety of languages. When the call center employees are not being hired to close the deal on a romance scam, very often they are used to assist in bank account takeovers, redirecting packages with shipping companies, or handling fraudulent new credit applications that require phone verification.

Another reason that call centers aren’t used earlier in romance scams: Hiring one is expensive. The call center pictured above charges $10 per call, payable only in Bitcoin.

“If you imagine the cost of doing by phone every part of the scam, it’s rather high, so they do most of the scam via email,” Holden said. “What we tend to see with these dating scams is the scammer will tell the call center operator to be sure to mention special nicknames and to remind him of specific things they talked about in their email correspondence.”

An ad for a criminal call center that specializes in online dating scams. This one, run by a cybecrook who uses the nickname “Sparta,” says “Only the best calls for you.”

Check back later this week for a more in-depth story about criminal call centers.

Profiles in Czech Republic

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Final demo’s Russian version is coming soon!

Hey guys! sorry for took so long to update the news.

because there are so many dev works have to do so it’s hard to keep updated news everywhere at moment. 🙁

Please follow my Twitter if you want to know the newest dev news. 🙂

The Russian version is coming soon! I can’t speak russian at all!!

so please help me to let your russian friends know my game! Please please please! 🙂

Thank you for your patience and please keep support Dead Dating!

Punched and taunted

We film as one man realises too late that he’s walked into a trap. Thirteen men surround, punch and taunt him. Katya screams orders at the group, at one point telling them not to hit him too hard, at another, threatening the terrified, whimpering man with worse violence.

They film an “interview” in which Katya asks him questions about his sex life. There are no references to children – this is homophobia, pure and simple. The man is forced to dance for the cameras. After almost an hour, he’s allowed to leave. But his ordeal is far from finished. He knows the group will post their video online – leaving him open to future violence.

The Russian authorities reject the values of liberal Britain where confetti will soon be thrown at the first gay weddings. Even as President Putin told gay athletes they would be welcome at Sochi, he asked them to leave Russia’s children alone. The constant connection between homosexuality and paedophilia is piling the pressure on the country’s already largely hidden gay community.

Dima put it best. The 25-year-old had been blinded in one eye after armed men stormed a gay community centre in St Petersburg: “If it’s constantly drilled into people that we are … scum and perverts, I understand why these guys shot at me… essentially a hunting season is open and we are the hunted.”

Threats issued to ‚Russian Grindr‘ users and 72k profiles deleted, says exec

A mobile dating app which is popular among Russia’s gay community has reportedly been hacked and blocked in the country just days before the Black Sea coastal town of Sochi plays host to the Winter Olympics.

Russian users of Hunters, a hook-up app that’s similar to Grindr, were also sent threats that a controversial new Russian law banning so-called „gay propaganda“ signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last July would be used to arrest them, according to the chief exec of the developer, Dmitry T.

The exec said the following threatening message (in English) was broadcast on Saturday to all Hunters‘ users in Russia: „You will be arrested and jailed for gay propaganda in Sochi according to Russian Federal Law #135 Sektion 6“.

Things reportedly escalated on Sunday after Hunters was blocked in and around Sochi, with local users who attempted to log in being informed that their profile would be blocked for a month. Around 72,000 user profiles were deleted throughout Russia, the dev claims.

Hunters boasts just 468 Facebook likes and 15 followers on Twitter so its purported huge presence in Russia appeared curious. We asked the developers to explain this apparent discrepancy.

In response, Hunters chief exec Dmitry T reasserted that the stories about the warning were genuine and explained the app’s low profile on English-medium and Western social media sites.

We are not communicating to our users via Facebook and Twitter because these SN [social networks] are not popular in Russia. We are using in-app notifications.

The Hunters app first appeared in stores in November 2012, with the latest versions going live on Apple’s App Store and Google Play on 30 January and 14 January, respectively.

El Reg also asked developers of the better known Grindr app if there was a more general clampdown in Russia but we’ve yet to receive a reply.

Dmitry T made the claim to gay news and popculture blog that state-sponsored hacking may have been responsible for the block.

„It looks like the Russian Government decided to take full control of the internet and implement Turkish practices where Grindr has been banned for almost half a year,“ Dmitry T told „I think that this attack is connected to increasing censorship of the internet and very soon other gay dating resources in Russia will face similar problems.“

Hunters is in the process of moving its servers from Russia, a process it hopes to complete in around a week. The developers are keen to play down possible concerns that financial information might have been exposed by the attack. „No users’ financial details were compromised during this attack, as this information is reliably protected by Google and Apple,“ an update to Hunters‘ original statement explains.

Screenshots of the alleged attack on Hunters, as well as a press release, have been collated together on Dropbox here.

Hunters devs say the app, which they claim is used by more than 1.2 million people worldwide, allows gay men not only to seek casual hook-ups, but to also find serious dates, homes, friends and jobs.

Last year Russia enacted a controversial law prohibiting distribution of „propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations“ among minors. Critics and human rights activists say the law makes it impossible to stage gay pride events or speak in defence of gay rights in Russia. The law, which has been criticised by the international community and foreign media, has resulted in a number of arrests and incidents of violence against homosexual people.

Gay rights groups have urged a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics as a protest.

Western media are reporting that the Sochi Winter Olympics will be the most expensive ever, costing up to $50bn according to some estimates, with security particularly tight in the aftermath of recent suicide attacks in nearby Volgograd by Islamic separatists.

Russia media outlets, such as RT, are equally adamant that these estimates are all a load of old borsch. ®

LGBT activist Yelena Grigoryeva was found brutally murdered on July 21

Saint Petersburg (AFP) – When LGBT activist Yelena Grigoryeva found her name on a hit list of a „gay-hunting“ group, she did not appear to take the threat seriously.

The group called itself „Pila“, meaning „saw“, after the series of Hollywood horror films of the same name, in which a serial killer plays games with his victims.

Pila promised „very dangerous and cruel little gifts“ to a number of Russia’s gay activists.

„That’s just a threat,“ Grigoryeva wrote on Facebook early last month, posting a screen grab of the group’s website on her page.

On July 21, her body was found in bushes close to her home in Saint Petersburg, with at least eight stab wounds to her face and back. She was 41.

The murder has horrified Russia’s LGBT community, even though there seems to be no firm evidence linking Pila directly to Grigoryeva’s fatal stabbing.

„I do not know who these people are, but it’s significant that people who think this way live among us,“ said activist Mikhail Tumasov, who has also received threats from Pila.

„Many people would like to do in reality what Pila is threatening us with. The idea has emerged that killing people over their sexual orientation is not just normal, but noble,“ he told AFP.

Russia’s gays and lesbians are no strangers to violence, hate crimes and even homophobic murders.

But a vigilante group seeking to turn violence against LGBT people into a game and encouraging Russians to hunt them down for sport plumbs new lows, campaigners say.

Activists said the Pila website had been around for about a year, posting names and pictures of their targets and promising „awards“ for attacks on them.

Prominent activist Igor Kochetkov accused authorities of doing little to stop it as he urged police to probe the website and the death threats against Grigoryeva.

„Dear police and other law enforcement agencies. It’s time to get to work!“ Kochetkov, whose name was also on the hit list, said in a recent video address.

„Start protecting all citizens! And if you believe that people like us should not be protected find yourselves a different job.“

Pila’s website has only recently been blocked, as have its channels on the popular encrypted messaging app Telegram.

But Pila has promised „to play until the end“, despite the ban.

Late last month, investigators arrested a man suspected of killing Grigoryeva, suggesting the attack was the result of a personal dispute.

Then they said they had taken the wrong man and detained a new suspect.

But the investigators made no mention of the homophobic threats against the activist, implying she was killed by a drinking companion.

Separately, Russia’s Anti-Extremism Centre said it could not conduct a probe into Pila because its website had been blocked.

LGBT activists accuse authorities of refusing to properly investigate Grigoryeva’s murder and the homophobic group.

They say Pila may not be made up of cold-bloodied killers, but that its main goal was to further terrorise Russia’s beleaguered gay community.

„Pila is dangerous because it sows hatred. It inspires people to commit real crimes,“ said Alla Chikinda, spokeswoman for an LGBT support centre in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

The centre, too, has received threats from Pila, which called for it to be shut down.

„You will be the next victims of our game if you don’t comply with our conditions,“ the group warned in a letter.

The Yekaterinburg centre has now installed video cameras and complained to the police.

Even though Russia decriminalised homosexuality in 1993, it remains a deeply homophobic society.

A rise in violence against gays has been seen since 2013, when Russia passed a law banning gay „propaganda“ among minors.

At a G20 summit in Japan in June, President Vladimir Putin insisted Russia respected gay rights, but also made fun of gender identity.

„Transformers, trans… I don’t even understand what this is,“ he said.

In July, Russia opened an unprecedented criminal case accusing officials of negligence for allowing a gay couple to adopt two children.

Activists say it should come as no surprise that groups like Pila did not fear punishment.

„They enjoy a feeling of impunity,“ said Vitaly Bespalov, editor at a gay online portal and one of the targets.

Gay rights in Russia

Let’s not beat about the bush. If you’re openly gay in Russia, you’re going to face major problems, whether you’re a local or a tourist. It’s tough, it’s hard and it pays to stay in the closet for your own safety! More about this below. In terms of LGBTQ rights in Russia, it’s obviously not great, but we’ll start this section with the good news!

In fact, it has been fully legal since 1993 – a whole decade before the USA Supreme Court fully decriminalised homosexuality across the entire country in the Lawrence v. Texas ruling. Other positive LGBTQ rights and laws in Russia that we found include:

Why Russia has a bad reputation?

Up until the late 2000s Russia had the sort of LGBTQ standing you’d expect from an Eastern European country, namely that the situation for the local gay community was not great, but ripe for positive change. Sadly, over the past decade, this positive change went the opposite direction completely, particularly in June 2013 when the awful anti-gay propaganda law was introduced.

Under the banner of “protecting children from being exposed to homonormativity”, the anti-gay propaganda law outlaws anything that promotes “non-traditional relationships” among minors. However, as it’s so widely drafted, this has effectively re-introduced an anti-gay law in Russia because anything that is seen to promote homosexuality can arguably be said to contravene this law, and therefore lead to arrest, deportation and/or fines. 

Worst of all, this law has led to a surge in LGBTQ hate crime in Russia, along with state-sponsored violence such as the gay concentration camps in Chechnya, which you can find out more about in the 2020 BBC documentary, “Welcome to Chechnya”.

To get an idea of the level of homophobia and outright stupidity prevalent amongst Russian politicians, check out this interview from October 2013 between Stephen Fry and Vitaly Milonov.

Milonov is one of the most prominent politicians in Putin’s “United Russia” party and he was also the principal sponsor of the awful 2013 anti-gay propaganda law:

Is Russia safe for LGBTQ travelers?

The short answer is, yes, it is safe, but… if you’re prepared to stay in the closet throughout your visit, especially in public.

Just before travelling on the in 2014, we were nervous! After all, we all know Russia has a terrible reputation for LGBTQ rights, particularly in light of the awful anti-gay propaganda law passed in 2013. All our friends and family warned us:

“you better be careful in Russia boys, probably best avoid going altogether!”

Top experiences for gay travelers in Russia

There are a lot of pretty impressive bucket list items to check out in Russia. Having studied Russian history at length at school, we both had a huge curiosity to see more of a country that is so greatly vilified by our Western media – think Bond Villains, Russian interference in elections etc etc

Whatever your thoughts are about the government and its politics, remember that there are everyday people living in this country who are just like you and me, around 6% of who are LGBTQ!

This is our lowdown of some of our not-to-miss highlights in Russia:

Gay tours in Russia

If you’d feel more comfortable visiting Russia as part of a group don’t worry, there are some gay tour operators organising gay group tours you can join! You’ll be able to relax and feel perfectly at ease with other gay travellers while you explore the sights of this magnificent country.

Can I use Grindr in Russia?

Grindr is allowed in Russia, but use your common sense for your personal safety at all times. Over the the last 5 years, the Russian government has been tightening control over online activity and has also demanded apps hand over information about its users or face being banned in Russia. It has to date done this to Telegram, LinkedIn and Tinder.

As far as we know Grindr and Hornet are not yet blocked in Russia, but regardless of this, we strongly recommend using a VPN to access your gay dating apps. This will allow you to hide your location and browse the web anonymously.

We used Grindr and Hornet extensively during our trip to Russia and at no stage did we ever encounter any issues, but we were always careful. We found it to be super useful for connecting with the local gay Russian community, particularly when traveling to smaller cities like Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kazan, etc where there is absolutely no gay scene at all.

Beware of Catfishing whilst travelling in Russia as there have been reports of violent homophobic gangs targetting gay guys on the dating apps, so please take care! Always meet the other person in a public area, ask for pictures first, cross-check their name on Google as well as on other social media channels to see if things add up.

Gay pride in Russia

The sad reality is that due to the anti-gay propaganda law, you’d be hard-pressed to find any gay events taking place in Russia.

The local gay Russian communities of Moscow and St Petersburg have tried to organize a and a St Petersburg Pride in the past. Sadly, they always get shut down by the government, risking violence if they do go ahead. In June 2012, the Moscow City Hall even went as far as enacting a 100-year ban on gay pride parades taking place in the city!

We recommend watching this brief video to you an idea of the different attitudes prevalent across different sections of Russian society towards the LGBTQ community and Gay Pride events. It’s interesting and inspiring to see more positive reactions by the younger generation:

Plan your trip to Russia

We’ve put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Russia. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.

How to get there: There are three major airports near Moscow and one by St. Petersburg, so it’s relatively easy to travel to Russia by plane. You can also travel to the country by train from most of the surrounding countries and even as far away as Beijing.

Visa requirements: Nationals of some countries don’t need a visa to visit Russia for certain periods, but if you are coming from the United States, Canada, Australia or the United Kingdom then you will need to apply for a Russian visa well in advance of your travels. Citizens of countries within the EU can get an e-visa but make sure you always check your personal visa requirements before booking anything.

Getting around: Russia is big, so if you’re looking to travel within the country you can fly, although it’s a lot more affordable to use trains. As well as the famous Trans-Siberian Express there are high-speed trains like the Sapsan, which travels between Moscow and St. Petersburg. There are also good metro systems in the main cities, the Moscow and St. Petersburg metros are both renowned for having the most gorgeous metro stations many people have ever seen!

Power Plugs: Russia uses power plug types C and F which are common throughout Europe. If you’re travelling from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia or many other countries then you will need to bring a travel adaptor with you.

Travel insurance: We never travel without making sure we have travel insurance to cover us in case of emergency. Anything from cancelled flights to illness can derail your plans, so it’s good to know you’re protected when visiting Russia. We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance as we’ve been using them for years and know they will look after us. Their cover is comprehensive and affordable, plus it’s easy to make a claim online if you need to.

Vaccinations: All travellers to Russia should be up to date with routine vaccinations for things like measles and chickenpox. Most travellers are advised to also be vaccinated against hepatitis A. Depending on where in the country you’re planning to visit and what you may be doing you might also need vaccinations against hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis or rabies. Make sure you check the CDC website and speak with your doctor before your trip.

Currency: The currency used in Russia is called the Russian ruble. The code for it is RUB and the symbol is ₽. Generally, US$1 will convert to around ₽73.97, €1 is worth about ₽80.47 and £1 will give you around ₽91.97.

Tipping culture: Tipping in Russia is a relatively new custom brought in by western visitors so it’s not usually expected but probably appreciated, especially in the big cities. Generally, about 10% of a restaurant bill (only if the service is good), rounding up the change for taxi drivers or bartenders is enough. You can read more about tipping in Russia here.

Internet access: Free WiFi is available in many public places in Russia, including airports, the metro, big chain restaurants and even some parks. If you don’t want to be hunting for WiFi then you could bring a portable WiFi device with you or to use in your phone.

Online privacy: While gay dating apps aren’t blocked in Russia at the moment, the government is exerting more control over online activities. We recommend getting a reliable VPN such as Express VPN while you’re in Russia so that you can use the internet with complete anonymity and protect your privacy.

Accommodation: We always use to find accommodation in Russia as they have so many excellent choices! It’s easy to book online and many listings offer free cancellation as well. They also have online customer support available 24/7 to help you out if needed.

Sightseeing and adventure: For more fun activities and excursions in Russia make sure you check out . They have an easy to use booking system and excellent 24/7 online customer support – so you’re bound to find something you’ll love!

When to visit: You can visit Russia at any time of year, basically just choose if you’d rather experience hot, warm or cold weather and plan your trip accordingly. It can be quite magical to see Russia in the snow during winter and the cities can get quite hot in the middle of summer. June is particularly good for visiting St. Petersburg, as there are many events held during the continuous daylight hours!

Safety tips

Russia is a safe country in general but be cautious about being out of the closet or engaging in PDAs unless you’re in a safe queer space. Most of the time you’ll need to “go back into the closet” while travelling in Russia, and if travelling as a couple, perhaps allow people to assume you’re just friends or brothers. Also, ensure you do your due diligence if meeting up with someone online as some groups target gay guys (see the section on catfishing earlier).

Conclusion

We conclude this article with this interview with Putin by the BBC ahead of the Sochi Olympics in 2014 in which he tries to defend the anti-gay propaganda law whilst insisting that Russia is not prejudiced against homosexuals. Obviously we don’t agree with this man nor his ridiculous homophobic anti-gay “propaganda” law! But we were nonetheless fascinated to watch him trying to prove that Russia is not that anti-gay. For example, he argues homosexuality is not a crime in Russia as it is in many other countries in the world, and makes positive references to Elton John.

Watch the video on the right hand side and see for yourself. The point we are trying to make is that quite clearly, the situation for LGBTQ is bad in Russia, and as an LGBTQ traveller, you do need to be careful, particularly with public displays of affection.

However, it’s not as bad as you may have thought, especially when you realise there is quite a thriving gay scene in Moscow and St Petersburg, along with a large LGBTQ community living their daily lives across the country.

For more insight into gay Russia: watch  of LGBTQ football fan Joe White as he wondered whether it would be safe to go to Russia for 2018 World Cup. Stefan gave his input to him as part of the documentary. You can only watch this BBC documentary if you’re in the UK, otherwise you can watch this shortened YouTube version.

50 thoughts on “Fraudsters Automate Russian Dating Scams”

Mail order brides from eastern Europe or Slovakian countries … cyberized. What isn’t yet contaminated?

Maybe “forgive me” apology letters (flavored with nuance of Cyrano de Bergerac) with flowers (previously specified) for those caught in flagrante delicto?

See also 1971 about a programmer who made juggling multiple relationships a little easier. This was almost half a century ago.

MikeB: I think it was past my bedtime, my fat fingers got in the way, a PICNIC error and you’re correct.

Please see:Fools for love: how an internet dating firm duped clients

Online dating firm denies creating profiles to tempt clientsHow Alexa shows BBC of London UK incinerated Cupid PLC.

also Former AshleyMadison Customer Sues Site Over “Army Of Fembots” With Fake Profiles.

There’s a wonderfully cringe-inducing documentary on NetFlix that actually follows some of these hapless guys around as they try Russian and Ukrainian dating services.

In this version of the ploy, the women are real but most of them are scamming the guys themselves.

I wonder if my old email address i used for winding up these scammers is in that list ?

Brian are you able to email the list, it would be handy for the guys on 419 eater to see if any of there emails have been blacklisted as such

What are the good websites? or at least more honest than these?

I’ve used before with some success (a number of dates and a year-long relationship). Of course, scammers show up there as well, so I just pay attention and set realistic expectations going in. I’m 53, twice divorced, so whenever I see any woman under 40 sending me a “wink” or an email, I automatically conclude that it’s a scam. It may not be, there might really be a 35 year old interested in me, but I seriously doubt it. Especially if her pictures are of some smokin’ hot babe.

One thing I do is to try to set up phone contact and a first date just as quickly as possible. And of course the first date should be something relatively quick and inexpensive, like coffee or lunch. Not only does that eliminate the scammers in a hurry, but it also tells me just how interested a real woman might be. If she’s not willing to meet me, then either she’s not interested or is talking to someone else, so I simply move on to the next one. Of course, this strategy would work better in a larger city than I live in (I’m in a city of under 500,000), but you do what you have to in order to protect yourself.

YMMV, as they say. I think awareness and standard operating procedures, combined with realistic expectations, will go a long way in making an online dating experience safer and more successful.

I’m not going to lie, reading advice about which dating websites are better and how to setup dates on a InfoSec blog is absolutely hilarious.

LOL. No wonder no one wants you! Best you try for one of these Russian brides.

“some success (a number of dates and a year-long relationship)”

Nobody? Doesn’t sound like nobody to me. Keep your snarky comments to yourself.

The point I was trying to make is that the target demographic for a lot of scams like the one Brian was highlighting is someone similar to me – 40-something/50-something male, probably divorced after a long marriage, rusty social skills for meeting someone in person due to lack of practice, etc. And if they’re not savvy or have unrealistic expectations, they could easily fall prey to these scammers. As Cyber Jay pointed out below, what are the chances that some beautiful young thing would be interested in someone of that demographic and contact them online? About as likely as a guy in that demographic walking into a bar and having a gorgeous 20-something hit on him out of the blue. It just doesn’t happen in reality.

Considering a lot of guys reading this blog could very well fit the target demographic of these scammers, and there was a legitimate question on how to trust online dating (at least that’s how I interpreted padraeg’s post), I used my own example to offer up some advice. Rather than belittling my response, maybe you can offer up something helpful instead.

You’re fine Darth and your advice was useful to me, a divorced 50’s male with very rusty skills in that area who is considering a dating site (albeit not a mail-order bride type deal).

Sorry I’m not in your demographic (yet), but I have also been maintaining a “dating” profile throughout my marriage. It helps to keep my social skills sharp with random conversations, as well as to easily identify fake profiles / bots. Sadly, if you’re above 35, not many women are interested (that are not “broken” in some shape or manner). Perhaps my standards are just too high, or I’m not that desperate for a connection so I do not put forth enough effort, since I already have a stable relationship. Either way, it’s entertaining to read through the profiles and guess which are legit vs. fake (bot) every so often.

Hey, don’t let Leia get to you. Kids often don’t take it well when their parents start dating new people.

People pay untold amounts of money just to see women showing off on stage all over the world. That’s life. The advice is: Don’t fall in love. If you do, you’ll find out she don’t love you.

What you see on the screen isn’t anything more than polygons fabricated from algorithms. It isn’t real. The pictures and the videos are moments frozen in time and reflected back from someone’s life somewhere else. That is atleast for the ones that are not CGI.

As a part of the human condition, we all have a need for the touch of another person. So much so that we will believe anything. This includes the lies we are told through email, social network websites, and the ads from that backs of magazines.

Ya know, if everyone would just lighten up a little and just start loving someone…. of this craziness wouldn’t even come close to happening in the first place.

Here is my suggestion for a dating site, especially if you are in a city of more than 100,000. . .

Turn the computer off and look the local outing, hiking, bicycling, mountaineering, dancing, whatever club and go there. I find those places offer the least scam and scammers.

The outdoors clubs have members who are into fitness and therefore in good shape. Many sedentary job holders are lumpy. So that is a good suggestion.

I’ve never seen any such clubs or activities that didn’t have a monthly fee or other associated costs. And that buys you access to a typically smallish (couple of dozen people, tops) potential dating pool that will quickly be exhausted, in all likelihood.

The fact that anyone actually falls for that kind of fake profile to me is astounding in this day and age. If you are that desperate that you think these woman and their stories are real (stranded at the airport etc) you probably deserve being scammed. Good Grief!

“The fact that anyone actually falls for that kind of fake profile to me is astounding in this day and age.”

What exactly is it that surprises you? We are living in a world not only ‘filled’ with technology, but one that is ‘dominated’ by it……and yet the vast majority of the human race still has no real understanding of how any of it actually works. No one cares to know. Most people think they don’t need to know how these things work. People think they need Facebook and Twitter in order to “stay in contact” and “find” family and friends online. People are so absorbed in their smartphone that they will walk into parked vehicles and drive off cliffs to their own deaths.

Ya know, for the longest time, people worried about computer viruses from porn sites without ever understand that the porn is only the lure used to bring users to the site…. real threat isn’t the pictures/videos, it’s the code that gets executed through the browser that is embedded within the webpage that serves up those pictures/videos. But, no one even cares about any of that any more. People think that Apple/Microsoft/government will take care of everything for them.

This article refers to men, but I work at a FI and I can tell you I see more women falling for these types of scams then men. They like to text back and forth, wire out money, etc. Sad.

It’s great that you are giving this topic some attention. Last Fall, I assisted a female friend in navigating the sketchy online dating waters and was shocked to see some of the more reputable dating sites to be littered with scammers of all flavors.

One of the more interesting trends I saw occurring was the illegal use/theft of legitimate military folks identity and pictures. Unknowing military members that honorably serve were being hijacked from their social media outlets—primarily Facebook. Open or Public Facebook profiles and photos are serving as excellent resources for scammers to harvest a bounty of useful information. Photos with their military uniforms (and nametags) and family pictures are stolen and dating accounts created that left no reason for anyone to believe that these guys and gals were not legit. Even the casual correspondence and messaging taking place was grammatically correct with little error, which would normally garner some suspicion of a scam and set the red flag warning.

However, as you mention in your article, there is always some rhyme or reason why they can’t immediately talk on the phone or physically meet up to further the relationship. In the particular case I was reviewing, the scammer indicated that he couldn’t meet because he was serving in the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, and that they would “call when they could.” Over the weeks, the scammer continues to foster the e-correspondence link to infiltrate more and more personal information from the target. Almost always, the purported “veteran” is divorced with a daughter or son and will heading back to the states in a few weeks on Leave. Personal photos (stolen) from social media continue to be exchanged between the target and scammer, creating the trust and bond between the two and tugging at whatever vulnerable heart strings they could. In some cases, the scammers are even setting up bogus Facebook accounts with pictures in order to legitimize their existence and place the target at ease. In some cases, the scammer was even willing to send a photo of themselves holding a sign displaying anything that the target wanted—and as you mentioned in your article the wonders of Photoshop kick into gear and provides more non-repudiation to the target.

And now you know what comes next…the final stage. The criminal call center initiates the long-awaited phone correspondence (in perfect English from a caller ID block) to the target in order to solidify the hopeful relationship and eventual meeting place. However, there is a catch. The supposed military member claims he is stranded in an overseas airport awaiting his next flight (Germany in my investigation) and states that his ATM/Credit card was disabled by his bank because he had not used it in many months due to his deployment. He asks the target to “borrow” money so that he can pick up his daughter a gift for her birthday and have enough funds to travel—somewhere between $500-$1000 dollars. The scammer conveniently has all the wire transfer information handy for the target and says they are standing by to verify the transfer and, of course, never to be heard from again.

This type of scam has yielded great successes because there are numerous dating sites that cater specifically to members of the military. While validating them, I saw nothing that stopped anyone from registering an account or verified that one was serving in the armed forces. I registered an account for myself to take a test drive, and I immediately received two winks and chat requests by a female Army Colonel who claimed to be a Pediatrician in Afghanistan and another from a beautiful Army Staff Sargent in Germany—both divorced with an 11 year old son. Wow, what are the chances of that happening within an hour of registering!!??

Bottom line is that the bad guys are stepping up their game, and the ease of masquerading an identity from a social media outlet has proven to be financially lucrative for the underground. Lot’s of people have fallen victim to this scam–Sad but true.

Thank you for posting this here. I have been digging in to the online dating scams for several months now. I think an infosec blog is a perfectly appropriate place for the topic.

I have been surprised by a couple of things: 1) how wide spread: from nuisance scams like date verify sites, Romance scams, to the world’s oldest profession, they are everywhere from craigs(scam)list to match. 2) How many men and women are careless about their online dealings; many never do so much as a tineye search on their ‘date’ or give their cell number out at the drop of a hat.

For those with a strong focus on online security, it is second nature. For a large portion of the population, that sense of danger just isn’t there. The desire to be with someone is strong. All the big headline takes are someone lonely, and the scammer takes advantage of that vulnerability.

I guess I am going to have to change my burner email ?

It’s not just email scams anymore. Every dating site has this going on, both male and female targets. Bringing the whole discussion back to the topic of security: Websites have some anti-automation in place to prevent scammers scripting account actions, but when those sites also create a mobile app, there is an entirely new attack surface for doing this sort of thing. We all know that most mobile applications (especially true for mobile apps that mirror website functionality) are essentially just a browser wrapped in a native app using common http and network traffic to talk to the same web servers as the full website. Those apps almost never have anywhere near the same kine of anti-automation protections that websites have.

On another note, let’s not forget about catfishing. not only are scammers going after victims, there are also people just doing it to be jerks to other people. The culture of convenience that we have created with all our phones/tablets/apps/devices has ruined most people’s social skills so the are becoming more succeptible to this sort of social engineering attack. I would bet $10,000 that at least 90% of guys would call ‘scam’ if a girl in a bar walked up to them and started speaking like those scripts.

There should be a fire alarm siren that goes off at 100 decibels in peoples heads whenever money of any amount, for whatever reason, is requested from an absolute stranger on the internet. The only thing worse than to be lonely and looking for love is to be lonely, looking for love and and out thousands on some scam.

The victims don’t consider them strangers by that point. By the time the scammers are ready to risk money on using the call center, they know they have set the hook and are ready to reel them in.

The target of the scam may already be putting down deposits on a reception hall and caterer for the wedding by this time. Once the victim has spent any money, they’re loathe to put that “at risk” by considering the possibility that it’s lost on a scam. They’ll keep throwing good money after bad in order to hang on to the belief the money they’ve already spent isn’t gone.

There have been numerous studies of how con artists work and how their victims react. It’s an incredibly fascinating line of research. When you delve into legitimate social engineering, you often find that those who proclaim that they would detect such a scam the loudest are frequently the ones who fall for them the hardest.

Brian – the scam templates you’ve highlighted do not appear particular creative or ingenious (other than the realistic broken English). I would expect that Russian fraudsters who are not fluent in English would have access to partners and associates who are and who do not have to be paid for providing a “romance scam package”. Do the package providers back up their effectiveness claims with money back guarantees? We can only hope that at least some of these players get played.

The stories I read in the papers about women (and it’s usually women you read about) being scammed make my jaw drop – some of them wire £20 000 or more to people they’ve never met. There seems to be a weird suspension of logic with certain people once they log on to those sites.

Lots of stolen pictures don’t turn up on a reverse image search, even if they’re posted at several locations online, so there’s usually no way to trace a fraudster’s photo to its true owner. But this English woman sent £30 000 that she stole from her family to a “US Army colonel” who was using General Wesley Clark’s photo! How hard could it be to trace the photo of one of the world’s most prominent military men?

Good example is Craigslist w4m is only robots bots , Russian Ukraine economic should be good if we see how much money been wired to there lol

There were dating bots with similar strategies that were used since the IRC era. Nowadays, i get a lot of such bots on Skype and even Telegram.

The solution in this case is to inform the general public, as it seems they are still dreaming of Russian mail-ordered brides.

“Interestingly, although Russia is considered by many to be among the most hostile countries toward homosexuals, the makers of this dating scam package also include advice and templates for targeting gay men.”

I don’t find this suprising at all. Rather the opposite. If you were a gay man in a hbtq-phobic country, of course you’d dream about leaving it and travel to someplace where you’d be able to live your life openly. And most hbtq ppl in less hbtq-phobic places know this and can to some degree relate , especially if they are, say, above 40 yo and thus have their own personal experiences of a less acceping climate.

Therefore, the russian gay man who just want’s to escape to somewhere else is very, very believable. I have personally met two russian gay men who did flee, and they were helped from friends of mine with marriages of convenience to get the rights to stay, since the Scandinavian state they fled to didn’t recognize having your home burnt down by a mob as a reason for fleeing o.O …

Anyways, I’d say that scams with hbtq ppl fleeing oppression is probably a scam that would work very well. And sadly enough also making it harder for those who genuinly need help to flee.

Good points, and I’ve not seen that acronym used before (an alternative to LGBTQ…etc, I presume).

The programs I have seen have been about older women being scammed, sometimes out of millions of dollars. There was also someone who stole a photo from a male model’s portfolio and was using that and a stolen photo from a Facebook account. Both men were shocked that their photos were being used in a scam. The scams I saw were out of Nigeria. There is also a software program for photographers that allows you to run the name/ number of any photo you have posted online and see if it has been downloaded by anybody and if it is being used; meant for copyright issues. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of it.

file names and numbers are easily changed. If you want to check for the image’s graphic content try

That’s it! Thank you for letting me know what it was : )

I’m looking for a human of your country. I nice your profile very much. I’m from Russian Federation.

If you lovely my photo, I wait for your answer. I think you know its country of long winter-tide and snow but our country is also famous for welcome.

I’m 29 years. I am Blonde. I’m orientated household and I would found a close-knit household.

In my free time I’m declaim listening to chime, gastronomy and learning foreign languages.

Please talk me about yourself: what do you please most of all and what are your intent and ambitions?

What kind of bi-monthly, canto do you like? I’ll try to talk about myself more in my next mail. I waiting for your rejoin so much.

It will be interesting to see how these scam packages evolve as AI becomes more available and open source. I’ll bet that within the decade packages like this will have a trained AI included in the deal.

This could be a good business opportunity for investigators who can verify the person writing by going and seeing them and getting identification. If they are legit they shouldn’t object to providing their address to their Lover’s investigator. It should be a quick and profitable business since most will hand out non-existing addresses.

The most prominent story I’ve heard of an internet dating scam: 68-year old physics professor tricked into thinking he’s dating a 30-year old bikini model. Not sure whether he ever sent her money, but he ended up in jail for trafficking drugs. Maybe better if he’d just sent her money.

I see the results of online dating scams on a regular basis, usually causing the victims (both genders) a lot a heartburn and heartache. I have to give the bad guys their props; they are excellent amateur psychologists.

When it got down to fact-driven source like Kerbs, it could be a good idea to present validated facts even for non-security related information.Statement “although Russia is considered by many to be among the most hostile countries toward homosexuals” is utterly incorrect as homosexuals has only two limitations in Russia – it is prohibited to expose any young person to gay propaganda and gay parades are restricted in most of cities. Apart of that no other restrictions are all means, I would not call this hostile environment.

First, Krebs didn’t state that the country is hostile to homosexuals, just that it’s perceived to be. He could put up more evidence of that, but it’s not getting challenged at all in the comments, which says to me that it is, in fact, commonly perceived as such (I know I perceive it as such).

Second, it sounds like those “only two” restrictions amount to “don’t exist in public as a gay person”, which is pretty hostile if you ask me.

Your email account may be worth far more than you imagine.

Viral Vigilantism Russian Neo-Nazis Take Gay Bashing Online

Maksim Martsinkevich, known as „Tesak“ or „flick knife“ by his comrades, does his best to look respectable with hip, frameless glasses on his profile on the Russian social network He calls his campaign „Occupy Pedophilia“ in the style of the „Occupy protests against Wall Street and the banking industry by anticapitalist protesters.

In fact, Martsinkevich has little time for Occupy’s left-wing ideals. Tesak is a notorious skinhead. For months now he has been posting video clips online that show him and his accomplices harassing gay men.

Martsinkevich begins his videos, in which he lures gay men to apartments on dates and then abuses them. Among his favored routines is forcing victims to kneel before him naked as he shaves off their hair and paints a rainbow flag on their scalps. The rainbow flag is the symbol of the international gay rights movement.

In other videos, he has forced his victims to imitate oral sex with sex toys, or to call their acquaintances, university professors or employers to embarrass them. On occasion he has poured what looks to be urine over victims‘ heads. In one clip, two young men are forced to dance together half naked as one of them weeps.

When Martsinkevich hits his victims the image is blurred and a cynical inscription reads „No to violence.“ But the audio track continues and their cries can be heard as he hits them with his fists or a rubber baton. He says, „I want to kill, but I’m not allowed.“

Online Martsinkevich portrays himself as a pedophile hunter and asserts that the young men who make contact with his victims on dating websites are only 15 years old. Not only are Tesak’s victims humiliated in front of their acquaintances and colleagues, they are also publicly pilloried as sex offenders.

But it’s clear that the gang’s activities are directed against gay men rather than pedophiles. If his victims are carrying ID, he shows it to the camera and scrawls the word „homo“ on it. In the opening credits to his clips an eagle swoops on a pigeon with colorful feathers, a pun on a slang term for gay men.

„Pedik“ is a common homophobic slur in Russia and is the short form of „pederast,“ and the equation of gay men with pedophiles is not limited to the extreme right in Russia. After decriminalizing homosexuality under President Boris Yeltsin, in 2012 Russian lawmakers forbade „propaganda of homosexuality among minors,“ adding further to the stigmatization of the country’s LGBT community. A majority of Russians still considers homosexuality an illness and supports calls for government intervention to remedy the problem. But so far, the law has scarcely been applied and has not affected the lively gay scenes in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

But even REN-TV, a channel popular with Moscow opposition politicians and western observers as a bastion of free speech, has joined in Martsinkevich’s witch hunt. A correspondent accompanied Tesak on one of his raids and continued filming even after he had started attacking his victim. Later the channel showed un-pixelated pictures of the alleged „pederast.“

Neo-Nazi Tesak is well known to the authorities. In 2005, he headed up a neo-Nazi gang called Format 18, the number standing for AH, Hitler’s initials. The gang beat up the homeless and immigrants from Central Asia and posted the videos online. On one occasion Format 18 posted images that seemed to show a Tajik man being hanged and his body being cut into pieces, though the execution clip turned out to be a fake. In 2007, Martsinkevich attacked an event organized by Alexei Navalny, now the informal leader of the Russian opposition, shouting that Russia needed to „kill all democrats.“

Tesak’s Format 18 was the model for director Pavel Bardin’s documentary drama „Russia 88“ on skinheads. Format 18 leader Martsinkevich received three years in prison for the attack on the Navalny event and for „incitement to hatred.“ He was released in late 2010, an unreformed character.

Martsinkevich actively encourages viewers to imitate his methods, advising against using knives „to avoid damaging the catch.“ His online fan base is growing daily, something he exploits financially by selling advertising for body building products on his website.

Russian authorities have long turned a blind eye to his activities. But early this month, members of an anti-extremism unit of the Russian police searched Martsinkevich’s apartment. He wasn’t there, having long since left the country. Apparently wholly unconcerned by the police investigation, he sent his 190,000 followers on a video message.

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Russian skinhead Maksim Martsinkevich humiliates his victims and films their ordeals, later posting the videos online. The neo-Nazi portrays himself as a pedophile hunter, calling his campaign „Occupy Pedophilia.“

Among Martsinkevich’s preferred methods is forcing victims to imitate sex acts…

.. shaving their hair before painting a rainbow flag on their scalps.

Victims are often lured to apartments on the pretext of a date. Beatings are blanked out with a cynical „No to violence“ screen shot, leaving viewers to listen to victims‘ desperate cries. Martsinkevich has 190,000 fans on Russian social network

Russian Dating and dating websites- A general idea

Russia is a vast country with an exciting history, diverse culture, and beautiful people. These factors make Russian dating an excellent experience.

The internet has brought about a big revolution in almost every field. It has successfully managed to take over the work and be the main driving force in most industries worldwide. Along with that, it has opened up new opportunities and created new industries successfully. Online dating is one of them.

Russia is a vast country with a long history. It lies between several water bodies like the Baltic Sea, Pacific Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea. It is a transcontinental country and is located in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia.

How are these Russian people? Russians are cheerful people with a warm heart and lively nature. Russian people can be excellent partners if treated right. There are a lot of Russian dating sites available on the internet. Some of these are Russian Cupid, Elena’s Models, Teamo, Mamba, Travel Girls, eDarling, etc.

Basic Functioning Of Russian Dating Sites

Russian dating sites work just like all the other dating sites. What makes them different is the particular focus and attention given to dating. Otherwise, the necessary functioning process is somewhat similar to the routine dating sites.

To use such a site, you will first have to register yourself and create an account on that platform. Usually, as mentioned above, you can create an account for free on almost all the Russian dating sites. To start with, to create an account, you must have a valid email ID. That’s the essential thing required to create an account on a dating website. Along with that, you will have to provide some necessary details like your gender, age, education, location, etc. You might have to verify your email ID according to the dating platform’s policies that you are using. Then, you will have to create a password. Remember to create a strong and complex password to prevent your account from being compromised.

After registering yourself, log in to your account. You will have to set up your profile on the platform. To do this, you will be asked some questions on the website. After that, you will be asked to write a paragraph about yourself. It can be called a ‘bio.’ You will also be asked to write about the type of partner you are interested in. Lastly, you will be asked to put up a suitable profile picture to complete your profile.

Usually, none of the above steps are mandatory. However, a complete and elaborate profile attracts many more matches than an incomplete, half-filled profile. Always answer all the questions asked by the platform. Make sure you write a good bio. A good, engaging, and elaborate bio attracts suitable matches. Also, make sure you are clear about the requirements you have from a potential partner. Mention it clearly whether you are interested in a serious relationship or a casual fling. Lastly, ensure that you put up a good profile picture. It should be clear and of high quality. Blur pictures, pixelated pictures, group photos, photos of celebrities as your profile picture are all huge turn-offs.

After setting up a profile, you will start getting matches. You can contact them through the communication tools provided by the platform.

Usually, all of these websites have two types of subscriptions. One is the free membership, and the other is the premium membership. There might be different pricing options for the various plans of the premium membership. While the free membership will give you all the necessary features, you should go for a premium membership if you are looking for a partner. It is how Russian dating sites function.

Bits of advice for finding a successful match on the best Russian Dating Sites

But one that registers the importance of free will. This is truer for women, wherein a man showing a more respectful gesture is sure to win some hearts. This is also a heart-warming picture to see men helping out women and is sure to add on to one being successful in the dating scene.

The context of being traditional enough is overbearing in terms of Russian men. They have their own sets of preferences, and one being is a woman who can handle housekeeping work to cooking on their own and without any hassles or complaints. This might not go so well down with the Western ideology.

Final word

Online dating has taken over traditional dating. It is the form of dating used by and preferred by most people these days. It is convenient, efficient, and, most important of all, universal. Understandably, it is the choice of most of the single people out there.

Russians have always been exciting people to date. Although many stereotypes are attached to Russian people, they are friendly, loving, and heart-warming humans. There are many websites specifically dedicated to certain specific groups of people or individual communities in online dating. Likewise, there are specially designed websites for Russians, the Russian dating sites. Before visiting the country itself, finding Russian love online can be made easy by using these websites.

Russians have been stereotyped as evil or wicked by the western media, politicians, and Hollywood for a long time. This is more prevalent of their portrayal on the reel. Known for its scores of vodka shots to monotonous appearances of Russians acting as gangsters or even spies.

This does not stop here; Russia is even amongst a few places that are depicted as one of the coldest places for the western audience. However, all of these are exaggerated myths.

Russians are very friendly and warm people. There is always the onus of getting to know a different country better through the eyes of a local, that too one who is your supposed partner. Russia sure does come with its architectural marvels, that is pristinely magical & is one of the most beautiful places to be.

Russian dating is a very interesting and exciting experience. All the websites above will help you find the Russian partner of your dreams!

Top Dating Websites

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Travel for Marriage And Tips About Avoiding Scams

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