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Activist Call For Boycott of Aeroflot After Gay Staff Member Forced to Wed Woman

January 31st, 2012 Rebeka B. Silva

 

When gay Russian flight attendant Maxim Kupreev tried to create an LGBT rights group within Aeroflot (Russia’s number one airline) he was not only silenced, but also forced to marry a woman to keep a facade that airline wanted, as well as his job. The 25-year-old Kupreev announced on June 20, 2011 that he wanted to create an LGBT rights group within the organization, and that the group would fight for the inclusion of an anti-LGBT discrimination policy along with domestic-partner benefits.During the planning of a rally in support of the group, Moscow authorities banned the event stating it was a “security hazard.” Kupreev told Agency France Press (AFP) that he was already being pressured by Aeroflot. “They are already trying to silence us,” he told the news agency.

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In late November of 2011, Kupreev was forced to marry a friend from high school, Sofia Mikhailova (who had to terminate a legitimate marriage). For the marriage, Mikhailova was granted 10% off Aeroflot fare and other company privileges.Nikolai Alekseev, founder of Moscow Pride, and other gay activist are planning to boycott Aeroflot and hold a rally on February 9 outside the head office of Aeroflot on Arbat Street in Moscow. Alekseev is condemning Aeroflot for demonstrating inhumane acts when they “effectively broke a real marriage and created a sham one.”

Alexeyev said that the boycott will be launched on a very symbolic day—”February 9th is the birthday not only of Russian civil aviation, but also of the main carrier of the country, Aeroflot. It’s the perfect day to draw attention to their discriminatory policies.”

They plan to condemn discrimination policy of the state-owned airline against homosexual workers and will demand dismissal of Aeroflot from the global airline alliance, Sky Team, which is led by Air France-KLM and includes American carrier Delta. [GSN]

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