No longer seen as a legitimate leader in the Russian LGBTI movement due to hack or lack?
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall – Humpty Dumpty had a great fall – All the Kings horses and all the kings men – could not put humpty together again!
By Melanie Nathan, August 18, 2013.
I was sitting on a plane returning to San Francisco from Chicago yesterday when I clicked onto Facebook feed and much to my surprise noted what seemed to me to be a very odd status update from a well known Russian LGBT activist who has been held in the highest regard by many international LGBTI activists. Nikolai Alekseev used to be seen as a leader and the go to person by international media. I have a feeling those days are over. Especially that he has done his fair share of alienating along the way. The question is whether this latest alienating rant is real or not? And no matter which way you choose to look at it, he cannot “be put together again.”
The status update by Nikolai Alekseev, said:
“USA and Canada are flooded now with fake asylum applications of Russian gays. Most have nothing to so with persecution in Russia. Shame!”
I thought the post to be insensitive and odd. Why would the renowned Nikolai Alesekeev comment so divisively. I thought perhaps something was lost in translation. A few responded, as can be seen from the screen shot below. I noted that there is no such thing as a fake asylum application from a gay person who seeks refuge from a country that has persecutory and onerous laws. The threat of persecution through legislated law is tantamount to persecution.
The very existence of the new anti-propaganda law in Russia is persecution. I do know however that the actual asylum laws require evidence of threat or harm. Alekseev’s position, from the thread, seemed to suggest that people should only be entitled to asylum in terms of existing law and that he considered applications of any gay who had not suffered physical harm and abuse to be “fake”. He seemed to think the asylum seeker was not entitled if that person did not fully conform to his understanding of “persecution.” He then alluded to what he had gone through, his own arrests, alleged kidnapping and beatings. Anything short of that seemed not good enough for asylum.
He referred in cursory fashion to the Geneva Convention’s limitations and it opened up the potential for a much needed conversation. One that I have mentioned several occasions on this site. But there was no conversation. Instead Alekseev insisted ( and in not very pleasant fashion) that gay people who are subjected to homophobic laws should not have the right to seek happiness and prosperity abroad. Not a good view to be taken by a Russian activist when much needed reform for asylum and immigration laws applies to many across the world, not to mention how such could help his own people. And so his nationalist stance became prevalent. His view is that all Russians should stay in Russia regardless and anyone seeking to leave or who had already left, regardless of their activism or mere happiness abroad, was less than worthy.
The much needed conversation did not happen, because when he noticed a differing of opinion he unhinged. The conversation about asylum could have become a meaningful one had we been dealing with a full deck. However instead of having the conversation this LGBT Russian activist, almost the only one who the international press ever quotes, went on a rant, with several status updates asserting, inter alia, that Russian gays should not leave Russia at all. He did not leave it at that, and attacked fellow activist Masha Gessen, who did in fact leave Russia. He then warns that Canadians should not be granting some of his fellow Russian gays asylum, by calling their need for asylum “fake.”
Instead of the conversation, it turned into an insane social media rant. Nikolai Alekseev named and accused well known Western LGBT activists of being pedophiles. Alekseev did a damn good job of playing into the hands of Putin, by justifying the very homophobic reasoning and myths upon which Russia has based its anti-gay laws. Hence we have the most famed Russian activist echoing the basis for the Putin anti-gay legislation. By even mentioning innocent gay activists in the context of pedophilia is justifying Putin laws. To publicly slander the actual Western gay activists who are the ones organizing and advocating for the International Russian boycotts which Alekseev himself had called for in Western press, is reprehensible, unconscionable, alienating and defies all logic.
So is this really Aleskeev?
Some say hacker or maybe kidnapper forcing Nikolai Alekseev to say this – after all that would not be unusual given the man’s history. Or certainly the history as he would have you believe! He has been (allegedly) kidnapped in the past, even though many were suspicious that he made it all up. That his so called disappearance was a vacation with a wealthy boyfriend abroad.
With this disrespect for basic freedom has Nikolai Alekseev tumbled off his throne or has he been hacked? Most in the know say “no.”
Why am I writing this? It was a tough call. I consulted with many fellow activists before putting up this post and said I was willing to be wrong and to take the risk. All who had encountered him in the past, said it is time to bring this back story into the open. ” It is time to dethrone the GAY PUTIN,” said one. Those who encountered Alekseev in the U.S. said an unhinged Alekseev is a typical Alekseev, and it is not a hack or kidnap. And so they noted in e-mails and calls to me, it must be written. Thus I hope that when mainstream press and bloggers Google his name they will realize whatever he says is untrustworthy and that often he does not represent anyone other than himself.
He can no longer be viewed by anyone as a worthy activist or leader for LGBT Russia. Other Russian activists have written to me with their views and do not regard Alekseev’s manipulative form of activism helpful. It is important to note that being an activist for a cause does not always entail overt public activism, as often behind the scene activism is equally, if not often more valuable. There are other activists too and many are heroic. Some take public risks and others do not. For some reason Alekseev seems to think he should wear the crown. That is obvious from much of his posts.
Some people who have known Alekseev more recently were so shocked by his comments that they believed his Facebook account had been hacked. Others believe he is drunk and will revert when he sobers up. Who knows – but whatever it may be, he is not a worthy leader and his word cannot be trusted by us here in the West when it comes to our responsibilities to speak out.
He wrote another status denigrating the Western press and activists, calling us hypocrites, basically telling us to all to take a hike, while boasting that the international media is all in his control. And to make matters worse that statement was made mere moments after thanking his international following for responding to his request to send our U.S. dollars to his favorite Russian LGBT charity. Then he notes “I hate the West” and then again notes “I would love to come to California.” Maybe an embed for the drunk excuse!
Then in response to my challenge to see if he has been hacked or if he really means this crap he said “Bitch go such your how it’s called yourself” ( Whatever that means!)
So when it comes to SHAME – it rests on the head of Nikolai Alekseev unless he has indeed been hacked. You be the judge! The listserves are saying this is often his behavior and the Facebook “newer friends” – a manipulated following- are saying this cannot be him and that it must be a hack.
However I believe that whether hacked or not, if the press gives this man one more moment of legitimacy it would be a big mistake. He is tainted. There are much more important community members to carry the torch, those in front of the cameras and those behind the scenes, whether in or out of the Mother Country!
And if it is really Alekseev he still thinks he is the GOD of Russian LGBT as he posted this final beddy bye bye –
“Nikolai Alekseev 2 hours ago via mobile” – “Before I go to beddy I will just confirm that I cut all relations with western media until they accuse for the biased coverage of Russia. My exclusive interview will be given under prearranged conditions which will be set by me and my team. Good night!”
I wonder who that team may be? Will Alekseev wake up sober in the morning and say he was kidnapped by the Ultra-Nationalists and forced to Facebook this crap to divide him from us in the West and his cause? And if not does he really think anyone in the West will give him the time of day?
If indeed Alekseev was hacked or forced and this is NOT him – please take a look at the history and speak to those who have seen this behavior before, and brace yourself for the redemption story worthy of an Oscar- for I have no doubt it is bound to occur. And even if Nikolai Alekseev was hacked, and taken over – that does not say much for his ability to lead! How many times will this so called leader put his so called followers through this?
Here are some listserve comments, (unnamed quotes) from LGBT activists who have know Alekseev for years:-
(1) ” Nikolai is a part time resident of Russia and spends much time with his very wealthy Swiss banker boyfriend Pierre in Geneva. It is Pierre who funds him, including his first class world travel excursions. There is a web site where folks post info about their world travels and Nikolai has shared many photos of him at exclusive ski resorts and on fancy cruise ships and generally enjoying the high life. I forget the name of that site, but he also used to cross post stories and pix of his travels at his now dormant Live Journal:http://alexeyev.livejournal.com/ ”
(2) “I’m disgusted by his Tweets saying there’s no implementation of the law, and that applications from Russian gays in US and Canada for asylum are based on bogus hate at home, and that Masha Gessen has no reason to fear her kids will be taken away, and other messages that could be used by Putin’s regime against gays in Russia. Nikolai has wealth from the Swiss boyfriend and is able to live part time in Switzerland or travel first class anywhere in the world. Thousands of average LGBT Russians lack the means to do that and probably cannot even afford to live on their own. Yet none of that matters as he throws his latest temper tantrum and be assured, the Russian haters closely monitor his online pages and sites.”
(3) “he’s engaging in his usual grand diva way on his Twitter account, something about no longer being involved in politics and also not opposed to Putin:
https://twitter.com/n_alexeyev . He has retired more times than Cher has had good-bye tours, and I learned the hard way how not to trust him, what a bully he is, that he’s anti-Semitic and pro-death penalty and a wealthy egomaniac. I doubt he’s been hacked and based on what you wrote sounds like his alienation of supporters has resurfaced. Oh, and remember that his claims of being kidnapped and held (sorta) incommunicado for three days in 2010 has never been independently verified.”
The truth according to those in the know – long time associates – – this IS Nikolai Alekseev and do not be fooled when he awakens to realize that no one wants to hear from him anymore.
He is tainted and his voice should not be the one the international press turns to. He has failed and has lost leadership legitimacy. And his ego so dangerous in its tease calls for alienation:-
And so I say – Nikolai its all over for you. You are no longer THE voice as you seem to think.
Hopefully the real leadership for the Russian LGBT cause will receive their due voice, whether directly or through western conduits. It matters not if that Russian is in or outside of Russia. We don’t need to see any more Nikolai bar brawls disguised as activism and be subjected to the suspicion of phoney kidnappings. We know that Russian Gays have every right to pursue their happiness and freedoms abroad if they so choose, while others may stay and fight. I am reminded of the worth of the anti-apartheid activists who fled South Africa and were able to do so much for Mandela and the cause to end Apartheid, from abroad. And they were deeply appreciated by those back home, because it is a sacrifice to leave the country one loves. It is all important – activism from within and from the outside.
I am also reminded that only a fool alienates his allies while tickling the belly of his enemies. Nikolai Alekseev did just that! And if it is a ploy what does he want from Putin? I am open to suggestions!
Hopefully with boycotts, sanctions, embarrassing Putin and other pressure, eventually things will change for the better.
And if this all happened because he was drunk I say ‘damn that is some nasty vodka you have your hands on!’ @n_alexeyev
SOME HISTORY: http://www.bilerico.com/2011/03/russian_gay_activist_california_tour_cancelled_ove.php
Watching this unfold:
UPDATED AUGUST 19, 2013.
Since writing this piece a lot oif information has come to me. Two sources have told me that Nikolai Alekseev has not been kidnapped and nor has he “disappeared” as some sites are reporting. That his crazed posts may be drug induced psychosis perhaps Crystal Meth. That would explain his crazed postings.
This I must caution is still to be considered as speculation at this point as I have not had direct confirmation that he has been seen using the drug. Although from his posts and the craziness that has , the latter may provide a good explanation. I am not providing this information to denigrate Nikolai. It does provide an explanation for what many are describing as crazy and insane behavior. It is important to publish because he has been the “go to” person by Reuters and Associated Press. If this is true it is now clear that the Press should no longer be using Nikolai Alekseev as a voice for LGBT Russians. If this is true my hope for him is that someone who cares about help will help him find some form sanctuary where he can be provided with rehabilitation.
UPDATED August 22, 2013
UPDATED August 27, 2013
UPDATED August 28, 2013