In mid-July, a gay, HIV-positive foreigner arrived at an immigration office in Moscow seeking asylum in Russia. Unlike in his native Uzbekistan, where sex between men is punishable by up to three years in prison, Russia has not criminalized homosexual relations.
But as he and his lawyer discussed his case with an immigration officer, their interlocutor made clear she had no sympathy for people like him.
"If it were up to me, they would all be put up against a wall," the officer with the Moscow branch of the Russian Interior Ministry's Main Directorate of Migration Affairs said, according to audio of the conversation obtained by RFE/RL.
At one point in the conversation, the officer, who said she herself hailed from the applicant's Central Asian homeland, switched to the man's native language to express her disapproval of the man's sexual orientation.
"Cursed be your father. Do you understand me, dog?" she is heard saying in Uzbek.
The officer's comments are now the subject of a formal complaint to Russian authorities by the applicant's lawyer on behalf of a rare subset of individuals seeking refuge in Russia: gay men.
Advocacy groups have registered a spike in asylum applications by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Russians in the West since Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial 2013 law that bans "promoting..nontraditional sexual relations" among minors.
But the number of people fleeing to Russia from governments with more restrictive laws on same-sex relations remains exceedingly small, according to Russian activists who work with such asylum seekers. Read more via RFE