In a chilling exchange in a Moscowpress conference today, a spokesperson for the country’s Foreign Ministry responded aggressively to a question of the Finnish journalist Erkka Mikkonen about the homophobic persecutions in the Republic of Chechnya. Mr Mikkonen, who has reported on the purge, asked the official whether she agreed with the Chechen claims that “there are no homosexuals in Chechnya”. The official responded by asking for the reporter’s name and details of his employment, which she repeated into the camera in an apparent message for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
“Dear Mr Kadyrov, today at our briefing there is a representative of Finnish television Erkka Mikkonen. He is very interested in the subject of the presence or absence of gays in Chechnya. This is not a question for a Foreign Ministry spokesperson. Could you organize a trip to the Chechen Republic for for this particular journalist, where he will be able to find answers to all his questions?,” the official asked, “I think I did everything I could. I understand that this is your favourite subject… go there and write a good article.” She concluded inviting the journalist directly to Chechnya to continue investigation there because it is out of the Ministry’s jurisdiction.