A leading Russian gay activist, Nikolai Alexeyev, has announced he will run against a prominent anti-gay politician for a seat in St. Petersburg’s legislative assembly.
For years, Alexeyev has been the most outspoken and brave of Russia’s small group of gay activists. Head of the group Moscow Pride, he has tried repeatedly to stage gay rights marches in the Russian capital, only to face attacks by police and fascist thugs.
Alexeyev successfully sued the city government in the European Court of Human Rights; in response, Moscow banned gay pride parades for 100 years. He has been a constant presence in the Western media, talking about the plight of gays in Russia.
He has now said in an Instagram post that he has decided to run for the seat currently held by Vitaly Milonov in the 2016 election.
Milonov is one of the most outspoken anti-gay activists in Russia. He is also the author of controversial legislation that bans the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among minors, a version of which was adopted in St. Petersburg before it became a national law in 2013.
Alekseyev said in his statement that he hopes to “once and for all release” the people of St. Petersburg from Milonov by defeating him in the election.