Russian Conscript Gives Tour of St. Petersburg’s Male Prostitution Row


Wednesday I posted about the claim by a Russian soldiers’ rights group that alleges conscripts in the Russian army are being forced into male prostitution by their superiors, who then demand the money they earn from it. CNN takes a closer look at the story, following a 20-year-old conscript/deserter who points out the dismal shacks on the back streets of St. Petersburg where the alleged prostitution took place.

So Russian soldiers are forced into gay prostitution by force, while some American soldiers are driven there by need.



  1. Zeke says

    I’m sickened that anyone can watch the violent abuse of the men shown in this video and hear the story of the kid who was so badly beaten that he had to have his genitals and both legs removed and then make jokes about it or say they find it hot.

    Towleroad visitors have just reached a new low!


  2. hoya86 says

    Have to agree with Zeke on this one. I was totally reluctant to click on the comments link because I just had a feeling that there would be comments about how hot this was etc…etc…etc..

    While I am all for good, fun and games, this hardly qualifies as something to make light of.

  3. Zeke says

    This video was NOT an S&M porn flick with actors pretending to abuse and assault each other.

    These are REAL kids forced into this abuse by Russia’s sexist conscription laws and out of control military establishment.

    The boys are real, the abuse is real, the blows are real and that’s just what was caught on camera. Imagine what they do to these helpless men when the cameras aren’t rolling.

    Maybe it’s just me but I’m gay because I love men, not just because I want to have sex with them. I sometimes think most gay people only see men as sex objects without having a real feeling of love or brotherhood for them.

    Perhaps my opinion on this is heavily influenced by the fact that I have a teenage son who, if we were so unfortunate as to be Russian, would be forced into this system to endure this kind of abuse. One of the kids in the video looks VERY much like my son. It made me LITERALLY sick and I’m still trembling from watching the clip and thinking of my kid in such a helpless situation.

    I encourage my gay brothers to, every once in a while, think with something other than your dicks.

  4. Lead says

    Amen Zeke and thank you so much for airing a strong voice concerning the recent spat of vile bile evident on these pages. I for one am weening off of blogs altogether and it’s all due to the general mean spirit and senseless banter that is supposed to pass as some intelligent opinion.

    Sorry Andy, you deserve all the credit for creating and maintaining an amazing well- rounded site but the cretans that inhabit these pages will keep me from reading the blog portion(s) and posting another missive.

  5. Matt says

    Yet another to agree with Zeke, and Lead.

    The guys here saying that forcing male soldiers to perform gay acts against their will is “hot” and should be encouraged are disgusting. It’s nothing short of rape, and anyone in favor such a thing is doing a terrible disservice to their own community. Want to halt the unfair generalizations of some straights and Christians that homosexuals are perverse and unnatural? Then stop BEING those things.

    Fucking sick.

  6. rudy says

    Absolutely Zeke. The fact that these ignoramouses are doing it to raise our ire does not mean that we should not call them out. Reveling in the suffering of others? How dare you call yourself human.

  7. Gregoire says

    Oh Christ, some of you people need to pull the sticks out of your ass. Clearly nobody was eroticizing ‘leg and genital amputation’.

    But the general gist of this article is like some porn fantasy. If you cant look at that in somewhat of a sardonic light, you need to install a personality chip asap.

  8. rudy says

    No Gregoire, It is you who appears to have had a humanityectomy when they performed your frontal lobotomy. These are young men–real human beings–not actors in a film for your entertainment, sardonic or otherwise. And do not project upon us your sexual fantasies involving sticks.

  9. Jeff says

    Really sad. As I said before, I can think of few things worse than being a young Russian conscript. My partner and I were in Russia last fall and while we have no regrets and saw a lot of incredible things, we have no desire to return anytime soon. The society is still scared. 70 years of totalitarianism takes a while to fade a away.

  10. Da says

    “Want to halt the unfair generalizations of some straights and Christians that homosexuals are perverse and unnatural? Then stop BEING those things.”
    Posted by: Matt

    Hmm, sorry Matt..though I agree that some of the comments were in very poor taste (all 3 or 4 of them) it’s not fair to blame it on the entire gay male population..nor expect us to be on our best behavior 24/7 just to be on the right side of heteros and Christian fundies who might be watching.

    They certainly don’t care what we think of them, or else a large portion of them would stop being misogynistic and generally crass – so if I would support civility from us it would be for anyone *but* them.

  11. Dave says

    Yes, forced prostitution and abuse is bad, very bad. Thank God I live in the USA where nothing like that goes on. But you have to admit the images here are suggestive of gay porn and people shouldn’t be flamed for saying so. I’m sure the provacative footage is the only reason CNN is covering this story anyway.

  12. Giovanni says

    “Thank God I live in the USA where nothing like that goes on”

    I am not sure if you were being sarcastic/facetious, Dave, but there are thousands of Asian and Latin women forced to live/work in 24 hour “underground” brothels all across the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    As for the idea of male brothels being titillating – much like prison sex the reality appears to be far more grim than the fantasy. Those guys are living the stuff of nightmares with no psychological support system for them after they got out of the army either.

  13. Zeke says

    Jack!, I figured that you, and others that made insensitive comments, probably based them on the picture that was posted with the ad without having watched the clip. I should have known that you would not be so crass. You have proven yourself here to be a gentleman. Your thoughtful apology is evidence of that.

    I really wish Andy would change, or remove, the inappropriately titillating picture that headlines the story. I think it leads people to the wrong conclusion as to what the story is about.

    Sorry for losing my cool guys. One of the boys that was getting kicked in the stomach looks way too much like my son. The story was disgusting but the thought of my kid going through that kind of abuse sent me reeling. Then the comments finished me off.

    Although I stand by my statement that this is not a story to laugh about or make light of, I probably should have given my fellow Towleroaders, especially Jack!, the benefit of the doubt.

  14. mark m says

    Excellent point, Da. I bet if you went to a blog story involving the straight sex ring of underage Southeast Asian girls, you would find a handful of disgusting posts there as well.

    Do those idiots represent all of heterosexual society?

    Bigots don’t use rationale to justify their hate. So you can be a gay Sunday School teacher and you are still as perverted in their eyes as a pedophile.

  15. dave says

    Zeke – this is a different Dave than above.
    Do you suffer from the inability to hold two opposing ideas in your conscious at once? Must you rail against any “insensitive comments” that appear? To what end? Do you really believe that Towleroad commentors are insensitive perverts who really get off on the tragedy of the young man who was so terribly beaten?
    Have you ever jacked off to a porno? If so, did you know the complete life story or situation of the man or woman in the porno?
    People are not dumb – they know these are real people, and the violent video is real.
    Perhaps you actually enjoy berating and chastising Towleroad readers more than your seeming need to police the comments for appropriate language and politics.
    The news is often horrifying. The planet is dying before our eyes. Some people are making witty comments about stories that are hard to deal with. This is not the New York Times and Andy himself frequently presents stories in a wry context. This used to be a fun place to read unconventional thoughts and comments about the issues that concern us.

  16. rudy says

    Oh get off your high horse (other) Dave. A jerk is a jerk, especially when he is trying, and failing, to be “witty”. You will not find a more sensitive or responsible man than Zeke. When he or any of us long time posters call out a fool it is because their comments are foolish, ignorant, or offensive. Rail on Zeke, my gay brother. We will stand beside you.

  17. KevinVT says

    I’ll repeat what I posted last time: the problem of “grandfathers” (dedovshchina) in the Russian Army is huge, and it’s much worse than it was in Soviet days. There have been countless injuries, deaths, and suicides documented. Some of the hazing is allegedly racially motivated.

    It’s sad, though, that gay prostitution is presented as something even more scandalous than the physical violence and torture that takes place. Prostitution in the Russian army is nothing new: Kuzmin writes about soldiers dabbling as prostitutes at the turn of the last century. After the collapse of the Soviet Union two factors contributed to the boom in army prostitution: economic collapse meant the soldiers earned practically nothing and the army could barely afford to feed and clothe them, and the corruption in the army meant that superiors turned a blind eye to prostitution as well as dedovshchina (grandfathers).

    From what I’ve heard, the vast majority of prostitution is not coerced. I’ve had soldiers walk up to me on the street in Moscow and ask for a cigarette (the usual opening line). Sex with men, especially if one plays the active role, as these soldier-prostitutes usually do, is not stigmatized as much as in the US or Britain (which was obvious from the report).

    Needless to say the dedy (grandfathers) will take advantage of prostitution for financial gain and humiliation of new conscripts, and this is not good. But making this out to be a bigger problem than dedovshchina in general shows a bias in the media against both prostitution and gay sex.

  18. Zeke says

    Dave, I believe I apologized, or attempted to, for overreacting and not giving people the benefit of the doubt. I also believe I pointed out that I should have considered that some people misunderstood what the story was about.

    Sorry my apologies weren’t sufficient or comprehensive enough for you but it seems they were sufficient for those to whom they were directed; and that’s what really matters to me.

  19. Wayne says

    Its sad that anyone should be subject to any sort of abuse. I am sur ethat should any of those who are saying how hot it is, would be the first to take your employer to court if you suffered the same sort of idignity. To cause the loss of use, or loss of any limb is hideous by any means and we should be condeming such. Next time one of you who thinks its “HOT’ gets beaten up, roobbed, or loses some body function, dont get upset if no one takes up your casue, because its karma!

  20. Da says

    “This used to be a fun place to read unconventional thoughts and comments about the issues that concern us.”
    Posted by: dave |

    I hope I’m not one of the people who contributed to ‘ruin’ the mood over here? cause I’ll admit to being very serious. Too serious sometimes.

    I mean, I’ll try to crack the occasional joke here and there so as not to appear completely humorless, but other than that there’s no changing me at this point. So I reserve the right to sound heavy and ‘staid’, as long as I defend the rights of others to express their unpopular opinions..which I try to do as much as possible 😉

  21. Dedovshchina says

    An adult male is just cannon fodder, therefore to force him to prostitution or to pornography during his compulsory military service is good as it can be helpful to teach him to obey under every condition, especially in pain and death. A compulsory military service has to be cruel to create fearless soldiers, this is the why only males can be conscripted, because women need to be respected and protected. A male is a slave of his Motherland, without any right. Rights are just for women! Conscription and Dedovshchina are very good for russian males and for every male around the world, because a male is less than a beast, expendable to protect women.

  22. Tom says

    Where is the problem if a conscript is forced into prostitution or to do gay porn? They are all males, not women. We must be concerned of Russian women, indeed many Russian women are suffering. But males can be sold and abused by their superiors, it’s normal and useful to the Army. The previous comment of Dedovshchina is right: that’s why women can not be conscripts, because conscription must be hard and cruel.

  23. Jab says

    We males are beasts for fighting! We have the duty to be cannon fodder for our Motherland. Women have rights, we males have just duties! So a painful training for conscripts is necessary, even sexual abuses, for teaching them to become slaves of the Army, ready to defend our Country in every situation, until the extreme sacrifice. So forcing male soldiers to prostitution and gay porn is ok. We should be concerned of the russian women, not for russian guys, who are forced just to do their duty toward their Country.

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