Facebook friends of Nikolai Alekseev, the man at the forefront of the struggle for LGBT equality in Russia are growing increasingly concerned following a serious of bizarre posts on his profile.
The lawyer, often quoted by international media as the most influential, high-profile LGBT activist in Russia, has aroused concern with a series of posts criticising 'Westerners' for their 'colonialism' and 'imperialism' towards Russia. Friends immediately voiced their suspicion that Alekseev's account had been hacked due to the sudden and uncharacteristic change in tone.
Although Alekseev is known for his blunt approach and occasional outbursts of frustration at what he perceives as inappropriate responses to the oppression of LGBT people in Russia, the situation became even more worrying when a series of status updates appeared naming various American 'friends' as 'paedophiles'.
Perhaps most unnerving of all, earlier today, a series of photographs were posted to Alekseev's account under the title 'Kidnapping'. In the album were three images of Alekseev in a bunker-like location dressed only in his underwear. A subsequent status update made reference to a 'porno contract'.
The concerns being expressed are that Alekseev has been abducted and that his Facebook account is being used to alienate his supporters outside Russia or, alternatively, that Alekseev's state of mind is fragile following years of ferocious battles against homophobia in his homeland.
Earlier this week, Alekseev was summoned before a committee to answer charges of libelling two politicians who had played a central role in the introduction of an 'anti-gay propaganda' law. The timing of the erratic updates has led some to speculate that Alekseev was, in fact, detained following the hearing and that his account is being updated by his opponents in an attempt to undermine him.
So So Gay will report further as the situation develops and as further facts emerge.