Moscow’s Largest Gay Club Closes Down

Russia Kremlin

Central Station, Moscow’s largest gay club, is reportedly closing down after a number of antigay attacks and a decision from the Moscow Arbitration Court to order the owners of the club to end their lease of the building.

There have been three documented attacks on Central Station within the past six months. Two men fired shots at the building, failing to harm patrons but damaging the club’s front door last November. Weeks later, unknown assailants reportedly sprayed harmful gas into the club. In December, a group of 100 people worked to dismantle the club’s roof, and stole and damaged some of the club’s equipment. Some believed the December attack was organised by the building management.

The club’s owner, Andrei Lichinsky, formally resigned in January. Lichinsky stated that the Moscow Police did not investigate the incidents and did not respond to his 30 complaints.

“I am resigning from my job as CEO of the Central Station club on February 1, 2014. Tired of fighting with the ‘windmills’.

“It has been 3 years of unforgettable work in the biggest gay club in the country, a lot has been passed through: the attack of the local prosecutor’s office, and burning my car down, and the fight against the raiders… It was one of the most interesting experiences of my work in the best club in its [market] segment.” he said.

Lichinsky has requested asylum in the U.S. “I’m not going to go back to Russia because I feel my safety, even my life, is threatened,” he said in an interview with Blade.

Many hoped that the club would receive new management after, Lipinsky’s resignation, but the club’s co-owner Ilja Abaturov has confirmed that it will close for good.

Central Station opened in 1997 and underwent a series of location changes. According to PinkNews, representatives of the landlords are blaming the Moscow Arbitration Court despite the club having permission to operate until 2017.

Acts of anti-LGBT violence have reportedly been widespread since the introduction of Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ laws.

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