Ian Reese


Absconded by airport security to middle-of-nowhere Russia, Nikolai Alexeyev sat for several days in early September 2010 unaware of his infractions or of his fate. Like a page from a Cold-War spy novel, the point of his abduction was to terrorize; Alexeyev’s abductors psychologically tortured and berated him with homophobic remarks. Nikolai Alexeyev is the leading gay rights activist in Russia and has been a twisting thorn in the side of local and national government for several years. Upon his release, he resolved to agitate further by leading a public demonstration to boycott the Swiss International Air Lines for its involvement in his kidnapping. On October 4, 2010, protestors rallied in the streets of Moscow to support Alexeyev when no recourse was taken against his kidnappers and, essentially, to exercise newfound rights. Although members of the media nearly equaled the number of protesters, the rally symbolized progress—a distinct break from the way things were. This particular rally was the first government-sanctioned demonstration by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the Russian capital (The Moscow Times, 2010).

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