This video of two men experiencing verbal and physical abuse as they hold hands on the streets of Moscow is going viral, with more than 1 million views since it was posted to YouTube Sunday.
Passersby shout expletives and anti-LGBT slurs at the men as they walk around the city. In one shot, the pair are pushed by an aggressive man. No one comes to help them.
Filmed in the style of this viral video documenting one woman's experience of street harassment while walking through New York, the footage has clearly been edited but captures numerous insults.
The two men in the video say they are not gay but staged a "social experiment" to spark discussion of LGBT rights in Russia.
"We thought that it's strange, that in USA if two guys have a walk holding hands, it would be not a big deal," they told BuzzFeed News by email. "So we wanted to see the same situation in Russia."
The men, who post footage of their "pranks" and "social experiments" under the name ChebuRussiaTV online, said they were surprised by the aggressive public reactions they received while filming.
"Because of our video, people started talking about this and finally reacted, at least a discussion is finally made," they said.
"Amazing hatred," wrote YouTube user YellowCat. "And these people want to start a family and raise children? So that their offspring too will hate, humiliate and wish for the death of others?"
Other comments were much darker. "It's a good thing I didn't walk by," another user posted under the name Dmitry Galiev.
Human Rights Watch has documented rising violence against the LGBT community since Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" among minors in 2013.
Watch the full video, with English subtitles, here:
Susie Armitage is the Global Managing Editor and is based in New York.
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