In the deepness of Siberian closets

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01/23/2019

Until recently a flag, painted on the balustrade, contrasted the otherwise concrete-grey waterfront next to the Angara River, which trenches the city of Irkutsk into halves. Its rainbow colors attracted attention of disapproving minds. Now it is gone, but those who painted it to hint at their irrevocable existence are still here. One of them stands at the balustrade right now, his gaze sliding along the opposite bank of the river, where trains are leaving for Moscow. The journey will take them about three days. His name is Yevgeniy Glebov, activist and co-founder of the local NGO “Time to Act” (Vremya Deystviy), which campagins for the equality of LGBT citizens. They are continuing a tradition that had arrived in Siberia some 200 years ago. Setting up a meeting with Yevgeniy turned out to not be the easiest task. It took more than a month and four failed attempts. Along the way he had made the impression of being very suspicious of a stranger’s endeavour to write about his activism. This was not surprising, as the Russian community of LGBT activists faces constant provocation.

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