Michael Lucas vs Nikolai Alexeyev
Nikolai Alexeyev, often described as Russia’s leading LGBT rights activist, has apparently quit over a critical article by an American adult film producer.
For years, Alexeyev has been at the forefront of LGBT rights in Russia and has been repeatedly detained and harassed by the authorities in his efforts to secure the right to hold Pride events in the country.
He successfully sued the Russian authorities in the European Court of Human Rights which ruled that Moscow’s Pride bans had violated Muscovites’ right to freedom of assembly.
In recent weeks, however, Alexeyev’s behaviour on Facebook and Twitter has become increasingly bizarre. He’s begun to slate the Western media, stated that gays and lesbians are not oppressed in Russia, accused other activists of being child abusers and taken to making offensive and seemingly irrational rants.
His actions led many of his followers to believe that his social media accounts had been hacked while there has been wild speculation about his state of mind.
On Wednesday, Alexeyev lashed out at an Out.Com article by Russian born American adult film product and actor Michael Lucas in which he attacked the Russian activist.
In the article, Lucas wrote: “Having spent years seeking foreign interest in his cause, Alexeyev now says foreigners are an intrusion on Russia.
“Having bragged continually of his many interviews in the Western media, and built a large part of his career on them, he now rails against that same Western media. Once the most vociferous public opponent of Russia’s ugly antigay laws, he now says their dangers have been exaggerated by ‘the West.’ It is indeed a remarkable change,” Lucas said.
Lucas speculated that Alexeyev might have succumbed to threats by the Russian authorities or even that he was “bought off,” and asserted that “everyone now knows he can no longer be trusted as an advocate for LGBT Russians”.
Alexeyev responded on Facebook that “All the world can thank @MichaelLucasNYC I decided to leave LGBT activism,” adding that “it’s not the Russian homophobic government which stopped me, but American insults and slanders. I am enough. I am done”.
He stated that he would close down his social media accounts and would withdraw “all 30 cases at European Court on all aspects of LGBT human rights violations in Russia” that he had filed.
Alexeyev also said that he would sue Lucas and Out.Com “for libel and slander” to the tune of $2 million.
He accused Lucas of having “moved Russian LGBT community 7 years back”, leading one commentator to respond that, “The thing is, Michael Lucas did not decide to withdraw the 30 cases, thus setting the Russian LGBT community back seven years. That was your decision. It is your decision how you react to his words that have deeply upset you”.
Alexeyev also threatened that “If my 72yo mum dies because of @MichaelLucasNYC article I will personally hire a contract killer to kill him. He will not get unpunished.”
The embarrassing public bun fight led Colin Stewart of LGBT rights blog Erasing 76 Crimes to comment: “Russian President Nikolai Putin must be chuckling with joy at the spectacle of LGBT rights activists acting as though other gay-rights activists, rather than Putin and his cronies, are their worst enemies.”
Blogger Melanie Nathan of O-blog-dee supported Lucas, writing on Facebook: “Michael like others are helping to move Russian LGBT forward by speaking the truth about Nikolai that Nikolai Alekseev is not fit to lead. Thank you Michael. Many of us have had to take the heat from Nikolai – stay strong you did the right thing with this article – well done!”