After facing ongoing harassment and attacks, Russia’s biggest gay nightclub has reportedly finally closed its doors.
According to The Village, Moscow’s embattled Central Station closed down after a lease dispute with the landlord. The disagreement was settled in the landlord’s favour by the Moscow Arbitration Court.
The club has survived numerous acts of vigilante intimidation; including an attack by masked gunmen in November last year, poison gas being sprayed on the dance floor, acts of vandalism (the roof was dismantled), and the theft of equipment.
The club’s management was even forced to put up razor-wire fencing to protect its clientèle.
Andrey Lischinsky, the former CEO of Moscow Station, announced his resignation on the Russian social media site Vkontakte in January. He wrote that “It has been 3 years of unforgettable work in the biggest gay club in the country.”
“A lot has passed: the impact of the local prosecutor’s office, burning my car, and the fight against the raiders… It was one of the most interesting experiences of my work in the best club in the segment.”
Lischinsky previously accused the landlord of trying to throw the club out and stated that, “The purpose of all these actions is to intimidate the Central Station clientèle. This can be called both raiding and extremism.”
He laid around 30 complaints with the authorities, none of which, he said, were investigated.
Neither the club’s website nor its Facebook page make any statement about the closure; the most recent post promoting a party was made last week.
Russia’s LGBT community has come under increasing discrimination and stigmatisation after some regions and the federal government passed so-called “gay propaganda” laws.