Nikolay Alexandrovich Alexeyev, the face of Russian LGBT rights, retires.

In an email sent to supporters last week, the 34-year-old said he would no longer head Moscow Pride and GayRussia.ru but gave little reason for his decision.

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.

Speaking to UKGayNews.org.uk, he added:

It is true that I am fed up, and that is why I decided to step down. I also decided not to give any further comments on my decision.

Mr Baev, who will take over GayRussia.ru, said:

The reason [for Alexeyev’s resignation] is totally personal. He just decided to change his activity and lifestyle, and he has a full right to this.

Alexeyev, a former journalist, turned his attention to full-time gay rights campaigning in 2005, setting up GayRussia.ru and making plans for a Pride march in Moscow.

He has appeared regularly on Russian television and has been honoured for his work by LGBT organisations worldwide.

He has been arrested on numerous occasions for holding illegal Pride marches and gay rights demonstrations and launched lawsuits against Moscow authorities for banning the events.

Last September, the campaigner was arrested at Domodedovo Airport in Moscow while boarding a plane to Geneva.

He says he was kidnapped and possibly drugged by Russian security forces who detained him for more than two days and used his phone to send fake messages claiming he was dropping his legal challenges.

Related:
Russian judge: Court ruling on gay pride ban culturally insensitive.
The Army of One – Nikolay Alexandrovich Alexeyev

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Russian judge: Court ruling on gay pride ban culturally insensitive.

A Russian judge has criticised an earlier ruling by the European Court of Human Rights declaring bans on three planned gay pride parades in Moscow to have been in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Valery Zorkin, Constitutional Court Chairman, told a news conference in Moscow that the ruling in October disregarded some aspects of Russian society.

“Such a sensitive issue, something that is allowed at such festivals in Amsterdam or Berlin with their sexual minorities. I want to point out that in Russia sexual minorities are under the protection of the constitution as well. But you just try to arrange a gay parade in Makhachkala or in Grozny or in Kazan with support from the Strasbourg court. You realise what will happen in Russia, don’t you?” he said.

Makhachkala, Grozny and Kazan are the capitals of the predominantly Muslim Russian republics of Dagestan, Chechnya and Tatarstan respectively.

“What are those ladies and gentlemen thinking about when they are sitting inside that glass building and throwing stones at others?” added Zorkin.

On 21 October the European Court of Human Rights declared bans by the Moscow city government on planned gay pride parades in 2006, 2007 and 2008 to be violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, said Nikolay Alexeyev, the leader of the Russian gay movement.

The court ordered Russia to pay the parade organisers 17,000 euros (£14,000) in compensation for their judiciary costs and 12,000 euros (£10,000) as emotional damage compensation, added Alexeyev.