Nikolai Alexeyev, the founder of Gay Pride Moscow, has confirmed that the gay activist Alexei Kiselev is seeking political asylum in Spain. Kiselev has been detained in his native Russia on several occasions for his participation in protests championing gay rights and for denouncing election irregularities in December of last year.
"The situation worsens daily," said Alexeyev, who was himself arrested along with Kiselev last February for his part in the protests against a controversial law that prohibits "homosexual propaganda" directed at young people.
Persecution of dissidents has been on the rise since the May protests against the politics of Vladimir Putin, just before his second presidential inauguration.
"Although the organization had tried to remain at the margin of the political protest, [Kiselev] was at many of the marches like any other citizen," Alexeyev said. "He has every reason to seek asylum."
The Russian government, he added, has become more repressive to avoid "more people from joining the opposition. [...] There are more and more people at the protests. These detentions serve as a deterrent."
Kiselev arrived in Spain in July and is currently staying in Barcelona. The Spanish government will decide on August 24 whether to grant him asylum, Alexeyev said.