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Russian LGBT Leader Nikolai Alekseev Steps Down

Russian gay-rights leader Nikolai Alekseev, 34, is stepping down as the head of Moscow Pride and GayRussia.ru, he has announced to supporters and friends.

Pink News reports:

In a Facebook post, he wrote: “Dear friends … today on 21 October 2011, one year anniversary of the European Court of Human Rights verdict in the case of illegality of Moscow Pride bans, I decided to resign from the positions of the head of Russian LGBT Human Rights Project GayRussia.ru and head of Moscow Pride Organizing Committee. From midnight 21 October 2011 in Moscow and up to the decision on the new leadership, Project GayRussia.ru will be headed by Nikolay Baev and Moscow Pride Organizing Committee by Alexander Naumchik.”

While Alekseev didn’t give details on why he’s chosen to retire, he’s had a hard road since taking up his role in 2005. He’s been lauded by the international LGBT community, but back home he’s been beaten, arrested and claims he was kidnapped by Russian security, who used his phone to send fake text messages recanting his beliefs.

We hope others take up the fight in Russia and that Alekseev takes a well-deserved vacation.

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