Russian Gay Lives in Geneva
& Part Time in Moscow
[UPDATE: Viacslav informs me: "I want to correct you. Nicholas did not live permanently in Switzerland. He is a Russian citizen and can not live permanently in another country. He lives in Moscow and in Switzerland. I do not know what are the exact restrictions may by law 90 days from 180." I erred with my original headline and what appears below. I apologize for my mistake. However, my larger point, that Nikolai is not a full-time Moscow resident stands. -michael.]
Over the past few days, I have discovered a wider gay Russian world that exists beyond one Nikolai Alexeyev and his agenda. A gay Russian blog titled Anti-Dogma wrote a good post on the controversies he's stirred up here in the USA.
Using Google's Translate service, I read what the local were saying, then posted my own note with a few questions included, and I'm pleased to say I quickly heard from Viaceslav Revin. He has granted me permission to post his remarks here. I've thanked him for providing us with a Russian perspective on Nikolai and his work.
Of all the things in this note, the weirdest one is that Nikolai lives in Switzerland. That kind of living arrangement, where a leader for a major city doesn't actually reside in the city, is something we have seen over the years in San Francisco. We have gay and AIDS leaders who live in the East Bay, yet they set the agenda for San Francisco for the gays who pay rent, taxes and vote here.
But what is weird about a gay Russian not living in Moscow is not that he doesn't reside in the metropolis, but that he lives in another country.
Viaceslav Revin responds to my questions:
Q: We don't know why we were good activists when we had rallies for him at the consulate, and now are bad activists just because we wanted answers about his alleged anti-Semitic and why he deleted his blog. If there is nothing bad/anti-semitic/stupid on his blog, he will restore it.
A: You are not the first person who asks a similar question. Nick sees the world only through the prism of people's relation to its activities and to him personally. Nobody has the right to criticize or say that Nicholas either from the fact that he did not like it. The list of people in Russia, where he insulted and publicly humiliated is huge. This human rights defenders, members of LGBT organizations, just people who have tried to adjust its position and reach a compromise.
In fact, apart from a few people, no one supports his action. We are ready to support the idea of gay pride. We are ready to go out with a protest against homophobia. We (gays living in Russia) in Russia have done this many times in different cities. Our actions were not so in the press. In Russia, dozens of regional organizations and informal initiatives that contribute to the common cause to reduce homophobia, internal homophobia, HIV prevention, socialization of same-sex families.
Almost everyone understands the need for gay pride. But not under the flag of Nicholas.
Q: Why is there the rumor that he lives in Geneva?
A: Because he does not conceal this information. In his LiveJournal, he regularly gave reports on Switzerland. It would be strange if he did not live in one country with her husband.
Gays do not have any relation to the claim against the Moscow Helsinki Group. [Note from Michael: I learned today that Nikolai in the autumn sued a revered human rights worker, and am trying to find out who supported the lawsuit plus its outcome.]
Apart from a few of his supporters. However, this claim has caused much debate. Ludmila Alekseeva, supports the right to protection of Article 31 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
The first who began to organize public rallies in support of this article was Limonov. He is the National Bolshevik. There is a dissonance. On the one hand Limonov requires legitimate rights, on the other its ideology is very dangerous for Russia.
As Ludmila Alekseeva aimed to achieve compliance with the right of assembly, it has reached this goal. Limonov, put forward the same political goals, which were already far from the protection of rights. Since the policy in Russia is street politics, radical politics, the views on Limonov VS Lyudmila Alekseeva divided. Around the same time, Lyudmila Alekseeva voiced their opinions about Nicholas. Then there was a scandal. But since both situations are superimposed on one another, the opinion of gay people in Russia were divided.
But the most interesting for me personally, an explanation of this phrase [from Nikolai's blog]. We in Russia have not received any comments [from him on this]:
Russian gay community are slaves! They do not deserve the decision of the European Court, which issued in their favor! They would masturbate each other in a dark corner ... more involved they do not deserve ... and these little people I also suggest as I do with Alexeeva ... that I was crap in the air leading radio station. Yes, I would like to spit out there thinks about the gay community. She insulted me personally, and personally I'll sue her!