February 27, 2015 – Reported by NPR Berlin – “My name is Kirill Kalugin. I’m 23 years old. I’m from St. Petersburg, Russia and I leave my country because I was afraid for my health, for my life, and for my freedom.”
Kirill Kalugin is one of a growing number of gay Russians seeking political asylum in the West. In November, Kalugin arrived in Dortmund, Germany, after multiple arrests, death threats and physical attacks. He’s been assaulted and arrested for waving a rainbow flag, as well as for demonstrating against Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“I was arrested many times,” he says. “It is scary first one but after it, you think it is normal.”
One of his gay friends was kidnapped by thugs and left naked in the forest. Kalugin watched another friend lose an eye when two masked men attacked a gay community center with a baseball bat and BB gun, shooting the friend in the face.…radio transcript continues below…click on link for audio