Is Russia’s most famous gay activist going to flee to Switzerland?


Russia’s most famous LGBTI activist Nikolai Alekseev has applied for Swiss citizenship but says he is not leaving the country – at least not yet.

Lawyer Alekseev is the most visible of Russia’s LGBTI activists, challenging its anti-gay laws and government on the streets and through the courts.

He’s been rewarded by beatings, arrests and fines.

Now he’s applying for Swiss citizenship – something he is entitled to do due to the fact his partner is Swiss and they entered a registered partnership in September 2008.

He told GSN he doesn’t have to ask for asylum in Switzerland because of this family link.

But he added: ‘The situation in Russia is getting worse and worse by the day. I am not surprised so many Russians already fled the country and asked for asylum in different countries.

‘The most recent case being my closest ally and co-organizer of Moscow Pride Irina Fedotova (Fet) who ran to Luxembourg and asked for political asylum just a couple of weeks ago.

‘She was driving the quad bike with me on 30 May this year during 10th Moscow Pride and was attacked by homophobic thugs in Moscow in August.

‘I will personally continue the fight in Russia until I see the slightest possibility of changes. Though this is getting more and more difficult to achieve. Even the jurisprudence of the European Court which has always been our last hope is being quashed by the current Russian regime.’

Two western countries have already offered Alekseev asylum but he wants to stay in Russia if he can.

‘Despite arrests, huge fines, court defeats, kidnappings, physical and verbal attacks and criminal cases against me I still hope something can change in Russia itself and ordinary Russian LGBTs will not have to leave,’ he told us.

For now, though, he can’t even go to Switzerland to seek treatment for the broken finger he sustained during Moscow Pride on 30 May.

A criminal case initiated by the deputies of Russian State Duma bans him from leaving the country for four months, he says.

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