News Brief
LGBTQ Crisis

LGBT Road-bike Group Crosses Russian-Finnish Border Despite Bomb Threat

A group of Russian LGBT sportsmen on their way to the EuroGames in Helsinki crossed the border into Finland the same day an anonymous phone call was placed from Siberia threatening to bomb the border. The male on the phone called a local police station in the Siberian city Omsk, apparently under the impression that he was calling Vyborg, a city located 1,600 miles away on the Russian border with Finland. The Russian Federation of LGBT Sports organized a 4-day “Freedom bike-ride” from Vyborg to Helsinki for those planning on attending the EuroGames, a biennial sporting event that in past years has gathered over 5,000 participants, mostly LGBT.

“Gays on bikes will take Vyborg” read a headline for a local news story that included comments from Duma Deputy Vitaly Milonov who urged “local, conservative Orthodox citizens” to show the “so-called sportsmen” their place. The publication wrote that it withheld the rest of Milonov’s comments as they were largely “incitement”

Anonymous, largely baseless, phone calls with threats to bomb various LGBT events are a common tactic among Russian anti-gay activists used to shut down LGBT events. In this case, local police in Vyborg who were contacted by the same local news outlet, responded that they were not aware that LGBT sportsmen planned to cross the border. “Anyways, we don’t divide citizens as ‘gay’ and ‘not gay,’ the police spokesperson said. “If we’re told to provide security, we’ll provide it.

Read more about this story (in Russian only) here.