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Russian Activist Seeks Spain Asylum, Citing Threats

  • RFE/RL's Russian Service

A prominent activist and gay rights advocate from St. Petersburg says she has left Russia after receiving death threats following her participation in a rally in support of Ukraine.

Natalya Tsymbalova, a founder of the group Straight Alliance for LGBT Equality, said on Facebook on September 4 that she is in Madrid and has lodged a formal request for political asylum in Spain.

Tsymbalova said she began receiving threatening telephone calls and text messages after she took part in a pro-Ukraine gathering in St. Petersburg on August 24.

She said her "hopes that it’s possible to turn Russia into a normal country have withered" after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March and the Kremlin, in her words, "totally zombified Russia's population."

Tsymbalova said she would continue "to fight for Russia" from abroad.