Meet our NYC Pride guests!

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Mariya Kozlovskaya, Russian LGBT-Network.

Mariya is a senior lawyer of Russian LGBT-Network. Mariya defends LGBT activists who were arrested during pro-LGBT rallies in Russia and serves our community by representing interests of victims of anti-gay hate crimes. Russian LGBT-Network is an interregional, non-governmental human rights organization that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Svetlana Zakharova and Maria Kozlovskaya, Russian LGBT-Network

Svetlana Zakharova and Maria Kozlovskaya, Russian LGBT-Network

Svetlana Zakharova, Russian LGBT-Network.

Svetlana Zakharova is a feminist, LGBT activist and Communications Manager of the Russian LGBT-Network. She coordinated the campaigns devoted to the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in many regions of Russia in 2014. Svetlana strongly believes that LGBT movement in Russia will succeed. She is very proud that Russian LGBT-Network helps those who are not protected by the state. She cannot imagine being silent about injustice. Svetlana Zakharova holds her first MA from the St. Petersburg State University (International Relations) and her second MA from Central European University (Budapest, Gender Studies).

Taras Karasiichuk, Gay Alliance Ukraine.


Taras Karasiichuk at the Russian Consulate in Warsaw, Poland. Photo:

Taras Karasiichuk is the CEO of Gay-Alliance Ukraine, one of the leaders of Kyiv Pride organizing committee. Gay-Alliance Ukraine is a partner of RUSA LGBT since 2014. Gay Alliance Ukraine works to develop LGBT movement in Ukraine, to provide information through education and advocacy, and to offer online and printed resources for LGBTQ community in Ukraine and general public. Gay-Alliance Ukraine has regional representative offices in many regions of Ukraine.

Volodymyr Naumenko, Gay Alliance Ukraine.

Volodymyr Naumenko, Gay Alliance Ukraine.

Volodymyr Naumenko, Gay Alliance Ukraine.

Volodymyr is a regional development manager at UPO Gay Alliance Ukraine. Since 2014 Volodymyr is the head of Queer Home, LGBT community centers project, which functions in 6 regions of Ukraine: Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Kryvyi Rih, Odesa, Zaporizhia and Vinnytsia, and will soon open in Kharkiv. Volodymyr began his LGBT activism by volunteering at KyivPride 2012.  In 2013 Volodymyr was one of the organizers of the first successful Equality March in Kyiv.

Nik Maslow, Gay Alliance Ukraine.

Nik curates Queer Home Kyiv project (Community Center).


Valery Sozaev, Center for Social and Information Initiatives Action.

Valery Sozaev

Valery Sozaev

Center for social and information initiatives Action works to strengthen the role of youth in the LGBT rights movement, to support LGBT people of faith, to promote LGBT research, to educate on HIV prevention, to support transgender community and to create a LGBT-inclusive civil society in Russia.

Valery Sozaev has a long record of accomplishments in LGBT activism in Russia. Valery started his LGBT activism in 2000 when he created a website to support LGBT people of faith and to advocate on their behalf. In 2005 he and a handful of activists started organizing various educational activities. In 2006 Russian LGBT-Network, the only national LGBT organization in Russia, was founded and Valery was its board member for two terms. In 2007 Valery took part in organizing the first Week Against Homophobia in Russia, which took place in St. Petersburg. In 2008 this event prompted the creation of organization called Coming Out, which is currently one of the strongest regional LGBT organizations in Russia. Valery was the leader of Coming Out for two years. Valery prides himself in being at the roots of LGBT rights movement in Russia and helping it grow from a handful of people to hundreds.

Anton Kuzmin, Center for Social and Information Initiatives Action.

Anton Kuzmin

Anton Kuzmin, Center for Social and Information Initiatives Action.

Anton came out in 2009 when he met LGBT Christians, which had a significant impact on his personal growth. Eventually Anton started taking part in the activities of the group Coming Out and the film festival Side By Side. For the last two years he has been working at project LasKy conducting HIV/STD prevention outreach with MSM in St. Petersburg. He is a board member of Action and continues to be active in the group of LGBT people of faith, serving as this group’s representative during various forums.


Elena Kostyuchenko & Anna Annenkova 

Anna Annenkova, Moscow. May 2015. Photo: Maxim Shemetov, Reuters

Anna Annenkova (left), Moscow. May 2015. Photo: Maxim Shemetov, Reuters


Elena Kostyuchenko

Elena Kostyuchenko being arrested in Moscow on Red Square on the first day of the Sochi Olympics.

Elena Kostyuchenko and Anna Anennkova risk their lives and fight for equality in Russia withstanding arrests, detentions, beatings and hospitalizations.
In addition to activism, Elena works as a journalist in one of the few independent newspapers in Russia, Novaya Gazeta. She is famous for her courageous investigative reporting. Just recently she wrote a remarkable piece uncovering presence of Russian troops in Ukraine, which as you’re well aware Kremlin fiercely denies. You can read a translation of her story in The Guardian – “Invisible army: the story of a Russian soldier sent to fight in Ukraine“.
In 2005, at the age of 17 Elena became the youngest staff member of Novaya Gazeta. She has chosen journalistic career inspired by the reporting of Anna Politkovskaya, famous Russian journalist who also worked at Novaya Gazeta. Shortly after Elena joined Novaya Gazeta, Anna Politkovskaya was gruesomely murdered for her reporting about human rights abuses in Chechnya and criticism of Vladimir Putin.



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