In August, Russian singer Zelimkhan Bakayev traveled from Moscow to Chechnya to celebrate his sister's wedding. Then, he vanished. His online activity came to a halt; his Instagram account was deactivated. With few options and even fewer answers, his mother called on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov last month to provide clarity, desperate to know what had happened to her son.

How does a high-profile Russian singer simply ... disappear?

It's likely, officials believe, Bakayev was swept up in Chechnya's horrifying and ongoing anti-gay purge targeting queer men like him.

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