The raids in Moscow on Friday night were accompanied by a show of force, with visitors required to show their identification and have photos taken of them. Russian media reports suggest that the police conducted the raids under the guise of a "drug control" operation. Various sources have informed CNN that it does appear to be a routine check on drug possession, notably right after the imposition of the ban on the "LGBT+ movement." Moreover, there are conflicting reports about the establishments that were allegedly raided. According to the owner of a gay club that, according to independent Russian media channels, was raided, nothing happened. He stated that it was just a pop-up party. "We are still operating," CNN quotes him. The reason why the police took photos of the visitors is not known.
Nevertheless, the Russian LGBT+ community is deeply concerned. The court ruling had already prompted several LGBT+ establishments to pre-emptively close their doors, including the popular Central Station in St. Petersburg. There are also reports of LGBT+ individuals consciously avoiding community events out of fear of potential consequences.
Under the new ban, LGBT+ individuals can be labelled as a "foreign agent" or "extremist," both of which carry high prison sentences. Russian LGBT+ organisations paint a bleak picture of the future: "People with homophobic views now feel comfortable. And the prospects are grim," says the coordinator of a Russian LGBT+ organisation regarding the ban.