A gay Russian flight attendant was allegedly forced to marry a woman in order to keep his job, a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) news outlets are reporting.
According to Pink News, 25-year-old Maxim Kupreev wed Sofia Mikhailova, a former high school girlfriend, after being ordered to do so when he attempted to found an LGBT support network at Aeroflot Airlines. In another twist, Mikhailova had to dissolve her real marriage to Grigoriy Andreykin in order to marry Kupreev.
"Aeroflot effectively broke a real marriage and created a sham one,” prominent Russian LGBT activist and Moscow Pride founder Nikolai Alekseev tells Gay Star News. Alekseev and other local LGBT activists are now reportedly planning to stage a Feb. 9 boycott outside Aeroflot's head offices in Moscow.
Other activists are calling for the removal of Aeroflot from its Sky Team alliance program (which includes Air France and Delta) in response to the news.
Gay Star News cites AFP as reporting that Kupreev had planned to fight for the recognition of same-sex partners of Aeroflot employees. Still, the article also claims he began to face pressure from airline management as early as last June, stating at the time, "They are already trying to silence us."