LGBT rights in Chechnya

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LGBT rights in Chechnya
Same-sex sexual activity legal?

(in the Russian aligned Chechen Republic) illegal, since 2006

(in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria) de facto legal, since 1991

(in the Caucasus Emirate) illegal; Islamist militias may murder homosexuals

uncertain and unspecified in both the Chechen Republic; killings of homosexuals by mobs have been tolerated by government

Death (in the Caucasus Emirate)
Discrimination protections None
Family rights
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex relationships

The status of LGBT rights in Chechnya reflects the land's geographical position. There are certain elements within the culture that emphasize personal freedom, but on the other hand, the current administration holds homosexuality to be a moral and legal crime.

Chechnya is a disputed territory, between the autonomous republic within Russia's borders, the secular separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, and the Islamist Caucasus Emirate. Attitudes between these three ruling powers vary widely, with the Caucasus Emirate viewing homosexuality as immoral, the exiled "Chechen Republic of Ichkeria" (produced from a split with what became the Caucasus Emirate) legally mostly indifferent about the issue, and the Russian backed "loyalists" under Kadyrov wanting the implementation of the sharia law code which ascribes death to homosexuality.

Cultural aspects[edit]

Chechnya is a mostly Muslim nation, and the sharia law code of Islam explicitly condemns and punishes homosexuality; Islam, as an Abrahamic religion furthermore condemns extramarital relations, including those between people of the same sex.

Chechens have been often described by Arabs, Chechens themselves, and Westerners as being less fundamentalist in their practice of Islam, especially in comparison to their Arab jihadi comrades.[1] There is a native system of interpretation known as adat, which often clashes with Quranic literalism, with the Chechens often vehemently rejecting the latter.[2] In 1993, writing on a visit to the then-independent Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Paul B. Henze noted that, in Chechnya, national traditions were viewed as being far more important than religion, which was (at the time of writing) consistently sidelined.[3]

Not much is known about homosexuality in Chechnya's history.

Legal status[edit]

Homosexuality was first illegalized in Chechnya when Russia conquered it in the late 1800s. After the Red Revolution, all of Russia legalized homosexuality again, but it was re-illegalized under Joseph Stalin for the whole Soviet Union.

In 1991, when Dzhokhar Dudayev declared Chechnya to be independent, Russian law was discarded, making homosexuality de facto legal. Under Aslan Maskhadov, as a form of compromise with the more radical Islamic factions within the country, sharia law was allowed to be implemented, but there were never any known cases of it actually being used with regard to homosexuality. This law carried over to the Caucasus Emirate, which officially has sharia as a part of its law code. The loyalist, pro-Russian government run by Ramzan Kadyrov has stated that sharia will be implemented, but whether this will be applied to homosexuality is unknown.

However, Ramzan Kadyrov has said he approves honor killing, to be directed at perceived social evils, especially breaking with the traditional gender role and homosexuality.[4]


  1. ^ Sakwa, Richard. Chechnya: From Past To Future. Available for preview:
  2. ^ Wood, Tony. Chechnya: The Case for Independence.
  3. ^ Henze, Paul B. Islam in the North Caucasus: the Case of Chechenia. Written in September 1993, published May 1995 with some updating. Available here:
  4. ^