This story/series was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.

On the last warm Sunday of the year, Nikolai Baev was doing what he does best—protesting for LGBT rights in Russia—when he was taken into custody by police. A few days before Moscow’s first real October snow, a small group of activists stood chanting and waving rainbow flags near Sokolniki Park. The demonstration lasted about thirty minutes before it was interrupted, and the protesters, who had agreed to stop, were detained. Baev took photos of his colleagues being dragged into the vans until he was the last to be held by plainclothes police.

“Our detainment is very symptomatic of LGBT activism in Russia,” Baev said two days later in a Moscow cafe. “It’s quite a difficult situation, and it’s connected to the Ukrainian crisis, and the conflict between Russia and the United States.” Baev, 39, has been a leader in the LGBT movement since he was a history student at the University of Novosibirsk in the 1990s.


Read the full article “Cracking Down on Russia’s LGBT Activists” in