The whole truth about the LGBT community in the Russian army

The character in the story chose to remain anonymous, as his relatives are now in Russia and could be arrested because of his interview. An enlisted soldier in a motorized rifle unit of the Western Military District revealed the truth about attitudes toward LGBT people. 

There is an unspoken cult of mockery and ridicule of the LGBT community in Russian society. But what is the attitude towards them in the Russian army?

It was total hell, which is the only way a soldier in the Russian army can describe his life. 

As for soldiers, passive and active homosexuals are perceived somewhat differently (as has been the custom in closed male communities for centuries). While the former can expect nothing but ridicule and humiliation and conceal their inclinations, the latter may seek opportunities to satisfy their sexual desire. Since the active homosexual role is a form of domination, it is not met with the same rejection in an army where all relationships are built mainly on asserting one’s superiority.

It is not difficult to see similarities with prison mores (although less “primitive”). Many members of the armed forces who engage in active homosexual contact are not homosexual per se but do so for social reasons. When their service ends, they return to their natural sexual orientation and are no longer attracted to “non-traditional” relationships.

Gay prostitution in the army

In the mid-noughties, the Russian press suddenly started discussing non-traditional sex in the army. Not just sex, but sex for money. One story reported that international gay publications called Russia the leader in selling soldiers and military school cadets for lovemaking. The price of a night was between 100 and 500 dollars.

A soldier could be “rented” both in certain places in Moscow (such as the monument to the heroes of Plevna, known as one of the capital’s central “gay beacons”) and directly in the army units. In the latter case, one could allegedly look through an album of candidates now at the checkpoint and choose the one who was more to his liking.

Journalists uncovered a standard scheme to involve soldiers and cadets in such activities. First, they are photographed in some way during the homosexual act – voluntary or forced – and then, under threat of disclosure, including to their families, they are forced to earn money for it. As a rule, officers and sergeants are in charge, who receive a percentage of the sex proceeds, if not all of them.

However, after the publication of the material and a negative reaction it provoked in military circles, gay prostitution in the army was no longer in the spotlight.

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