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Russian Gay Activist Alexey Davydov Dies at 36

Alexey Davydov, a prominent Russian gay rights activist, has died at the age of 36 after slipping into a coma brought on by kidney failure. Davydov, a diabetic, was also on dialysis.

DavydovFriends say that after an arrest in 2011 over Russians' rights to free assembly he "had his arm so severely broken that he required a month's stay in the hospital." His health problems appeared to worsen from that point on.

Writes Julia Ioffe in the New Republic:

About a month ago, I interviewed Davydov for a story on what life was like for gay Russians after Putin signed a series of strange, medieval anti-gay laws. Davydov, who spoke quickly and softly, was not interested in telling me the story of his coming out to his family and friends; he wanted to tell me what he was doing about the laws.

A month earlier, in July, he and a handful of other activists had gone to a Moscow children's library and Davydov unfurled a sign that said "Being gay is normal." He was immediately arrested and became the first person charged with violating the new law: spreading "propaganda about non-traditional sexual orientations among minors."

The plan, Davydov told me, was to force the Russian courts to take up the issue and be forced to define and grapple with a vaguely worded law.

Towleroad reported on that protest, and on one in 2007 at which Davydov and two dozen other activists were protesting Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's human rights violations against gays and lesbians. Davydov and one other activist were roughly detained.

Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseev posted a message on Facebook looking for funds to cover Davydov's funeral.

Wrote Alekseev: "He made an enormous contribution to the Russian LGBT movement since 2006. He never cared about arrests and attacks. He just pursued our mutual goal! He has no relatives. He never cared about arrests and attacks. He just pursued our mutual goal! He has no relatives. He dedicated all his life to activism. He was always next to me in the worst times, including the day my flat was raided by police and prosecution just a month ago."

Among those who have donated is actress and activist Tilda Swinton.

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  1. Rest in peace. You did the best you could.

    Posted by: litper | Sep 28, 2013 3:40:26 PM

  2. Wouldn't have happened in North America. Most likely died in hospital from neglect.

    Posted by: kennetho9322 | Sep 28, 2013 3:47:48 PM

  3. Rest in peace. His advocacy will live on to see better days for Gay rights in Russia.

    Posted by: Jay | Sep 28, 2013 4:01:21 PM

  4. The tremendous stress he was under probably contributed to this poor man's condition and death. What tremendous courage and dedication he had.
    This will be another nail in the coffin of Putin's and Russia's anti-gay laws.

    Posted by: David From Canada | Sep 28, 2013 4:10:42 PM

  5. Unfortunate he died from diabetes at such an early age. Sadly broken arms and insulin are not related. He died for what we take for granted.

    Posted by: SV | Sep 28, 2013 4:18:23 PM

  6. They should be sure to check that he wasn't poisoned. You never know with the Kremlin.

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 28, 2013 4:43:20 PM

  7. He was probably poisoned. There won't be an actual autopsy.

    Posted by: Polyboy | Sep 28, 2013 4:50:40 PM

  8. Yeah, you never know with the Kremlin --- you don't--

    Posted by: Jay | Sep 28, 2013 4:52:29 PM

  9. I'll light a candle tonight...

    Posted by: Pookie | Sep 28, 2013 5:14:57 PM

  10. After going under anesthesia for his injuries, it's possible he OD'ed on it, which is more common than many people realize. It can have dire side effects, especially for those with weakened immune systems and health. It's a particular issue with the elderly. Sad tale.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 28, 2013 6:56:35 PM

  11. Rest in peace , & thank you.

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Sep 28, 2013 9:36:37 PM

  12. that's sad. would not be surprised of poisoning. see Viktor Yushchenko

    of course tilda is donating. she is a goddess

    Posted by: gomez | Sep 28, 2013 10:45:55 PM

  13. I'm not sure "died" is a strong enough word, but I understand people's reluctance to say otherwise. The man had courage, and apparently he used it trying to better the lot of his peers, one could easily call that noble.

    Posted by: Joesph Foster | Sep 29, 2013 12:59:38 AM

  14. Yuri Luzhkov lives in London now. Funny how Britain works. They have more ex-dictators per square mile than any place in the world.

    Posted by: hank | Sep 29, 2013 1:44:04 AM

  15. HANK, Britain's legal system is so twisted that it is downright corrupt.

    Posted by: Rowan | Sep 29, 2013 5:32:33 AM

  16. A true hero

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Sep 29, 2013 7:32:09 AM


    Give rest, O Christ,
    To thy servant with thy Saints,
    Where sorrow and pain are no more;
    Neither sighing, but life everlasting.

    Thou only art immortal,
    The Creator and Maker of all:
    And we are mortal, formed of the earth,
    And unto earth shall we return:
    For so thou didst ordain,
    When thou createdst us, saying:

    Dust thou art,
    And unto dust shalt thou return,
    All we go down to the dust;
    Yet, weeping o'er the grave,
    We make our song:

    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

    Give rest, O Christ (etc.... repeated)

    Posted by: Bud Clark | Sep 29, 2013 9:32:07 PM

  18. RIP Alexey. Thank you.

    Posted by: Joel V | Sep 30, 2013 11:25:00 AM

  19. so sad - my condolences to anyone who had the privilege of knowing this brave man. Rest In Peace Alexey

    Posted by: ACe | Sep 30, 2013 5:39:13 PM

  20. we are trying to find a boy who got bullied and harassed by russian teens in a video on the internet.
    please visit my facebook page. maybe we can help him.

    Posted by: denis | Dec 5, 2013 6:38:39 AM

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