Deputy and Slon Journalist Beaten by Homophobes in Moscow Bar

August 6, 2013
Municipal deputy and Slon journalist Vera Kichanova | Slon

Vera Kichanova, journalist; a municipal deputy for the South Tushino district; and [Kichanova’s] companions were beaten at Kamchatka bar. Some female guests at the bar, and then the men in their group, were unhappy with the way Vera’s friends looked and decided to demonstrate their dislike of homosexuals, not only by word but by deed.

Here’s what Vera wrote on her Facebook:

 “…Some woman comes flying at us with shouts of “Pidory!” [pederasts] and starts beating us. They were confused and tried to calm her down. Another woman ran up and also threw herself at us, and then three guys from the same group. At one point all five of them were beating my one friend who lay down, covering his head with his hands.”

That was not the end of it; the attackers then switched their attention to Vera’s husband, Pavel, trying to tear out his hair, throw his glasses on the floor, and kick him in the legs, shouting “Burn in hell!” At first the security at the bar were virtually inactive and only after some time did they interfere. But the guards didn’t detain the attackers or summon the police.

“Her guy comes running up and also started beating us, I stood between them, he didn’t touch me, but she pushed him and kicked me in the stomach. The guard grabbed me and Pasha and took us inside, saying ‘This is for your safety.’ Nobody even touched those freaks, they continued to hang around on the deck and our whole group of about ten people were not allowed outside. For our safety.”

The Kamchatka bar belongs to Arkady Novikov, the authorized representative of Sergei Sobyanin, a candidate in the mayoral elections in Moscow. It is located in the very center of Moscow on Kuznetsky Bridge, opposite TsUM (Central Department Store).

On 15 June of this year, there was a mass fight at Kamchatka in which about 30 people took part. It happened in the early morning hours of Saturday, and several of those involved in the fight were hospitalized. The police are still investigating what exactly happened there.

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As a number of people were skeptical about the incident after it received wider publicity, and she received a slew of hateful comments, Kichanova posted an update on her Facebook page on 6 August:

Those who are writing that we have exaggerated the incident at the Kamchatka or have even made it up out of whole cloth for the sake of PR are either bastards or idiots who mindlessly repeat things after bastards. Sorry for the harshness, but there are no other words for it. I would not wish a single good person such PR, not for one day. When all night, calls from journalists won’t let you sleep (four hours of sleep in two days). When the person who wakes you up introduces himself as a reporter from Argumenty i Fakty, and then you see this commentary at When you can’t manage to block the people who send you threats at Vkontakte [a social networking website]. When even your friends think that the super-original joke about the “strange place Kamchatka” is more apt than ever. When because of all of this hell, you have no time to get to the doctors and check what the kick in your stomach has done, because your stomach is hurting even more, but on the Internet, you read that in fact nobody even beat you.

If people try to tell you that this is all for the sake of PR, that it is not an obituary, then don’t believe them. Those people most likely don’t know what they’re talking about.

Did I suspect that this would happen? I did. And of course, I didn’t want any of this. No normal person in their right mind would want such a thing for themselves When all of this happened, I wrote a private post for my friends, because I was in sheer horror and wanted at least somebody to sympathize with me. My friends spent a long time convincing me that I should not be silent about this, and in the final analysis they were right. If this story had happened to someone else, the entire media would have passed it by. And it would repeat with someone else. And then someone after that. And yet another. But since it happened to me, there is a chance to try to make it so that this doesn’t turn into a trend. And if this chance is not used due to indifference, you will then feel you were guilty each time when something like this happened to one of your friends (and not only your friends).

On Sunday, on my day off, the editorial office was still humane and wrote largely words of support. On Monday, the staff propagandists along with an army of bots went to work. Then nonsense appeared about the “American boy” as the reason for the fight, about knives and mace cans (one of my friends had a knife – a small, folding pen knife, and as it turned out, I had left the can of mace at home), or that we were just walking by. Pasha just got a call from an old acquaintance who now works at Izvestiya who tried to get a comment, but was politely rejected. He described how a total of three LifeNews crews went to Kamchatka and asked to film, but were not allowed for some reason. Here are some wonderful excerpts from their correspondence – the comrade honestly admitted that the truth interested the journalists from the nest of Aram Ashotych [Gabrelyanov, chairman of the board of Izvestiya] least of all.

I am left with two questions: why were we needed for the “federal [TV] channels”? And who is this Armen, that even LifeNews wasn’t given a video of his attack?