A young Russian man has been brutally tortured and killed by his friends, apparently after he came out as gay to them.

The body of the 23-year-old Vladislav Tornovoi was found on Friday morning in the city of Volgograd.

Police said that he had been severely beaten, with wounds to his genitals, and that his head was smashed in with a rock.

He was also raped with a beer bottle and his body was then set alight.

The authorities believe that the attack was in response to Tornovoi coming out to his drinking companions while celebrating the Victory Day public holiday.

Two men, aged 22 and 27, have been arrested in connection with the murder.

The Moscow Times noted that it was unusual for police to mention that a victim was gay, even when it comes to homophobic crimes.

Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev suggested that “By noting that the victim was gay, investigators wanted to portray him as someone abnormal and therefore expendable”.

Writing on the gayrussia.eu website, gay rights campaigner Nikolai Bayev blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for creating an increasingly homophobic and intolerant Russia that led to the death of the young man.

“President Putin, get your hands on a 20-killogram boulder and throw it on the head of Vladislav Tornovomu lying unconscious in front of you. And then just set fire to his body. Burn gay – it’s that simple. This was done in medieval Europe, it was done in Nazi Germany. Now do it in your Russia!” wrote Bayev.

Last month, LGBT rights activists were flabbergasted when Putin insisted that “there is no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities” in Russia.

Despite his claims, Pride events have been repeatedly banned in a number of cities, most notably in Moscow. Various regions and cities have also recently passed laws banning public displays of homosexuality.

In January, Russian lawmakers approved a national bill that would effectively bar any LGBT events or any shows of support for LGBT people or rights that might be seen by minors.

The bill must still receive a final approval from parliament before it is passed to Putin for his signature. Efforts to protest the law have been met with violence from anti-gay radicals.

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