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Police In Sochi Brutalize And Sodomize Olympic Construction Worker

Sochi construction
As a result of recent anti-gay legislation and increases in anti-gay attacks, Russia has found itself at the center of extensive controversy as of late. Part of this controversy has surrounded the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. LGBT rights advocates are already calling foul to the U.S. government and to NBC. Some are even calling for a boycott. Unfortunately, none of this controversy is likely to die anytime soon, now that Vocativ is releasing the story of Martiros Demerchyan, a construction worker from Sochi who was assulted, brutalized, and forcibly sodomized by police. According to Vocativ and organizations such as Human Rights Watch, this incident is indicative of patterns that have become "a frequent complaint in Sochi, a once sleepy resort town on Russia’s Black Sea coastline."

The incident in question took place after a pay dispute, which took place after the Okhotskaya Building Companys allegedly underpaid Demerchyan approximately 20,000 rubles (or $600 USD). After compaining to his supervisor, he was accused of stealing electrical wire from his job. Demerchyan subsequently offered to let authorities search his home for the "missing" wire, which seemed to satisfy his supervisor. After being told to "come by and pick up your pay," Demerchyan was then ambushed by police and taken to the police station, where they attempted to intimidate him into signing a confession for the wire theft. When he refused, police allegedly donned boxing gloves and beat him until he lost consciousness. Vocativ shares what happened next:

"When Demerchyan awoke, he again refused to confess to the crime he says he did not commit. The police then allegedly bent him over, shoved his face to the ground and sodomized him with a red fireman’s crowbar. 'I screamed,' Demerchyan says. 'I said, ‘I’ll sign whatever you want, just please don’t torture me anymore. I can’t bear any more of this.'' Demerchyan’s relative and co-worker, Sergei Krbashyan, accompanied him to the station, and was beaten as well, though less severely. Reportedly, Krbashyan said that he’d rather be shot than have the crowbar used on him."

After the incident, Demerchyan was taken to a private medical center. According to medical reports, his injuries corrobarate the story he shared: a concussion, two cracked teeth, and “intestinal injuries obtained from penetration by a foreign object.”

Sochi-construction-of-airportDemerchyan's employer, the Okhotskaya Building Company, denies the incident in its entirety, and refused to comment on accusations that they are mistreating workers. His lawyer also tried to bring concerns to the police. The investigator assigned to the case then delayed the investigation for one month, long enough for Demerchyan's injuries to heal and seem less severe, before dismissing it altogether. The delay tactic is supposedly a safeguard should Demerchyan and his attorney attempt to take the matter before the courts. 

According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, complaints of mistreatment, underpayment, and police corruption have become increasingly common as constuction has kept increasing in Sochi. Vocativ also reports that "Russian opposition leaders such as Boris Nemtsov, a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, have accused the government of widespread embezzlement of Olympic funds." They go on to say that...

"The cost of the games, once estimated at $12 billion, about the same as the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, is now expected to be roughly four times that amount. If true, this would make Sochi—the only Winter Olympics to be held in city with a subtropical climate—the most expensive games in history."

Sochi olympicsAdd to this the fact that a large portion of construction workers for the Sochi games are foreign-born, thus making it much easier for their supervisors to deny them wages, steal their identification papers, place them in overcrowded housing facilities, and underfeed them. Human Rights Watch added in their report that, “the Russian government has obligations under national and international law to protect workers, including migrant workers.” They say that such corruption and human rights violations are frighteningly common when cities prepare for Olympic games, especially in authoritarian states. One analyst explained...

“We’ve gone to [the IOC] several times with allegations of a pattern of abuse across Olympic sites...They were interested in seeing individual cases brought to them, but refused to examine them as a pattern.”

Meanwhile, Demerchyan says that he still suffers from blurred vision and pain in his back and kidneys as a result of the injuries he sustained in his altercation with police. He is subsequently unable to work and support his family. He told Vocativ, “I have already borrowed all the money that I could from relatives...I don’t know what we will do.”

The IOC has yet to comment on any of the current controversy surrounding the homophobia and human rights violations taking place in Sochi and throughout Russia. 

You can read Vocativ's more extensive coverage and analysis HERE.

You can read the full report by Human Rights Watch HERE

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Comments

  1. With gay and non-gay abuses happening on this scale, across the board at ANY city hosting the Olympics, one has to wonder why the games aren't boycotted by everyone and simply halted altogether.

    Seriously, is it worth the abuse so many of our fellow human beings to stage this expensive and overrated event?

    What's the point of showing amazing human physical achievement in the light of day when so much physical and mental human suffering and abuse is happening behind closed doors?

    It puts a stain on the entire thing for me.

    Posted by: johnny | Jul 26, 2013 7:55:04 AM


  2. Yeah, this story is kind of sad, but keep in mind what Johnny Weir says: the Olympics are all about talented youth making their parents gleam with pride. You don't want that moment to be soured by petty complaints made by some construction worker.

    Posted by: borut | Jul 26, 2013 8:15:50 AM


  3. Yeah, this story is kind of sad, but keep in mind what Johnny Weir says: the Olympics are all about talented youth making their parents gleam with pride. You don't want that moment to be soured by petty complaints made by some construction worker.

    Posted by: borut | Jul 26, 2013 8:15:50 AM


  4. @BORUT: what about the gay and lesbian athletes from the US and other countries - like Johnny Weir - who maybe beaten and abused by Putin's thugs? Petty complaints? Don't you believe forced sodomy with a crowbar is cruel and unusual and not indicative of the Olympic Spirit? I'd much rather keep US athletes safe and protected. When you visit another country you must abide by their laws and since homosexuality has been criminalized in Russia, thanks to the Great God, Putin, gay athletes break the law by entering Russia. Ask the 4 tourists arrested there...

    Posted by: michaeld1048 | Jul 26, 2013 8:43:46 AM


  5. I agree with Johnny wholeheartedly.
    I believe Borut was being sarcastic.
    I feel, and believe, the games ought to be moved. Definitely a boycott is in order.

    Posted by: Marco | Jul 26, 2013 9:05:57 AM


  6. Hit Vladsie where it'll hurt the most: For the safety and well-being of all the athletes, move the games to where the facilities -- and laws protecting sexual minorities -- are already in place. Punishment for Russ, a windfall for a gay-friendly country, everybody but the haters wins.

    Posted by: Onnyjay | Jul 26, 2013 10:07:09 AM


  7. I am sorry that innocent construction workers are being caught up in this. The Olympics are bad news all around. This has nothing to do with Russia's anti-gay laws. This is the kind of abuse cops in general everywhere are used to committing. The Olympics will just give these cops more opportunities - and more victims to choose from.
    But that is not the only bad part about this whole thing. Sports incite violence. The Olympics should be boycotted on that basis every 4 years. No city wanting to avoid violence should host the Olympics. Athletes should be shunned.

    Posted by: NullNaught | Jul 26, 2013 10:18:44 AM


  8. forcible anal penetration with a crowbar is NOT a petty complaint.

    Posted by: fanboi | Jul 26, 2013 10:44:55 AM


  9. Boycott! Both Russia and the Olympics at Sochi. The Russians have learned nothing about democracy or being a free society. The Stalinist Soviet regime is practically fused to their behavior genetically. They now use the Orthodox church to justify their sadistic and fascistic ways.

    Posted by: oscar | Jul 26, 2013 11:05:45 AM


  10. These stories are shocking, but not surprising. I hope we come together as a force and put a stop to what's going on in Russia and beyond. What other purpose is there?

    Posted by: Sam | Jul 26, 2013 11:07:39 AM


  11. Between this and more atrocities in Brazil,the spectator sports in this scale has served its purpose. The Olympics has become an social pornography.

    Posted by: iban4yesu | Jul 26, 2013 12:21:00 PM


  12. This is sad, sick and disgusting. I do not want to see the Games in Russia, if this is how their authorities/police act. This is beyond barbaric, and really doesn't have anything to do with homophobia, just the fear of sex acts with sick objects and torture in general. Wow, what a bunch of sickos. I know that never shall another drop of Russian vodka pass these lips.

    Posted by: millerbeach | Jul 26, 2013 12:22:56 PM


  13. I would like to see the Olympic Committee take a strong stand and pull the games. Period. The UN is involved int he issue of equality. It is time for the world community to say "enough." No equality means you are not free to host the games.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 26, 2013 12:50:26 PM


  14. I have never followed the Olympics, and this story surely doesn't entice me to start now.

    Posted by: Drummond | Jul 26, 2013 1:12:26 PM


  15. The IOC loves to hand out the games to corrupt countries like Russia, as the bribes and kick-backs are more or less guaranteed. Also, you get lots of third world cheap labor. The proper action would be for the other construction workers to go on strike.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 26, 2013 2:17:40 PM


  16. This is where Edward Snowden wants to live?

    Posted by: jimstoic | Jul 26, 2013 2:18:10 PM


  17. Has no one ever seen the BBC documentaries on how corrupt the International Olympic Committee is ? It is one of the most corrupt organizations in the world.

    There will be no boycott. If they were concerned about human rights they would never have given the Olympics to Korea, Russia or China. All the Committee cares about is how much money these cities are prepared to pay them in bribes. That is why I stopped watching the Olympics in the 1980's.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jul 26, 2013 3:24:50 PM


  18. I was going to watch the games on free TV, but I'm not even going to do that now. I'm done.

    Posted by: Randy | Jul 26, 2013 5:30:36 PM


  19. Threatened to boycott NBC and it's coverage of the Olympics- which are always a commercial for the host country.

    Posted by: jaragon | Jul 26, 2013 6:23:46 PM


  20. It's time to shut down the Sochi "olympic" venue. Move the Olympics back to Vancouver, I am sure they could put on the games on short order. Time to boycott Putin and his thugs. NO STOLI.

    Posted by: aregeejay | Jul 26, 2013 8:31:58 PM


  21. Russia always has been a barbarian state!

    Posted by: billmiller | Jul 27, 2013 9:10:36 AM


  22. I agree with many of the posts on here. Russia does NOT deserve the Olympics. It should be shut down NOW. These atrocities should not be able to continue.
    Any country who cannot afford to make sure that human rights are respected and adhered to does not deserve to be the hosts.
    If the IOC cannot be cleaned up of crimes, bribery, and corruption of all sorts, the Games need to end. It's a real shame the situation has gotten to this point.
    The WORLD needs to stand up to these criminals and corruption.
    Members of the IOC need to be held personally liable for letting these abuses happen without penalty.

    Posted by: JT | Jul 27, 2013 9:44:01 AM


  23. It is an offense that Russia was EVER allowed the Olympics. Hosting the Olympics is a high honor and should be reserved for states that are at least moving in the right direction as regards human rights. Russia is on the polar opposite end of the spectrum and knows it but wants to play like it's in the First World club anyway. Well, sorry, Russia. You don't get to be a modern European state when it suits you but then a backward thug state the rest of the time! I say to Russia what Russia would say to me. YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!

    Posted by: fedorajoe | Jul 27, 2013 10:06:07 AM


  24. The IOC is full of right wing republicans who make Mitt Romney (former chair) look like Karl Marx. I've met a handful of them and they are one and all totally repugnant people. They care about themselves and their own status, period. They would chuckle to be asked to show concern for human rights.

    Posted by: Rob | Jul 27, 2013 3:35:22 PM


  25. Going after Stoli is mouse-nuts. What US and EU countries are investing in the Sochi Olympics? Those are the people who don't want their profits disrupted by a pesky boycott. Convince those companies that moving the Olympics is the best way to cut their loses and the IOC, the US government and the NY Times will fall in line.

    Posted by: MikeBles | Jul 28, 2013 2:26:34 AM


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