09/18/2010 by JR Russell
It’s like something out of a novel. The kind of intrigue you can enjoy because you know it’s just too outrageous to be real. Sadly, this time it was all too real. Russia’s best known gay activist, Nikolai Alekseev, was detained prior to boarding a flight to Geneva in Moscow’s Domodevo Airport.
Friends were unable to get information from airport security and authorities and the Russian Police said they had no record of him. The following day, the Airport authorities released a statement that he was detained after refusing to remove his shoes in a standard security check. His friends and long-time colleagues smelled a rat.
Alekseev had had his phone briefly following his detention and then it was gone. He had managed quickly to notify the media and his closest friends before communication was cut off. All over the world, people contacted their Russian embassies and consulates asking them where Nikolai Alekseev is.
The next day, messages start to arrive from Nikolai’s Swiss mobile phone. He told people that he is in Minsk, claiming political asylum and that he has withdrawn the case against the Mayor of Moscow. A couple of his more canny colleagues text back, asking questions Alekseev would be able to answer. As they suspected, they received no answer.
Fortunately, Alekseev is now back in Moscow, in good enough shape that he has managed to type up a full account of his ordeal and declare his intention to sue the airport and airport security service for violating international law and allowing Nikolai to be arrested by Russian police once already in the international zone of airport departures. One thing is for sure, he doesn’t seem to have been convinced to give up the fight. Read his account on his LiveJournal blog:
After this, began talking about a picket against Luzhkov: “You is not tired? You see that everything is easy? “All this was accompanied by terms such as” fag, “” motherfuckers “,” homosexual “, etc. But then I immediately replied that the applicant rally on Tuesday is not that recall on any anything I can not. They also insisted that the formal organizer still me. I was given water to drink already poured into a glass. And I have doubts about the composition of the water. Over the past two days I lost concentration, there was some emotional unresponsiveness. Only a few hours after returning to Moscow today, I realized that it was all on purpose. Nikolai Alekseyev’s LiveJournal (Google Translate link)
An interesting footnote: Nikolai credits his Apple iPad with being the only way he was able to determine the location of his interrogation. If only James Bond had an iPad, huh? (h/t to LGBT Asylum News, very quick with the updates!)