HAVANA — The leader of the anti-gay Russian extremist group “Occupy Pedophilia” has fled Ukraine, where he was hiding to avoid arrest by Russian authorities for a series of criminal homophobic assaults against LGBTQ people, and is now believed by Russian law enforcement to be hiding in Cuba.
Maxim Sergeyevich Martsinkevich is also wanted by prosecutors from the Ukrainian port city of Sevastopol for an alleged assault last month against a former contestant of the Ukrainian franchise of the British talent competition “The X Factor.”
A member of Russia’s Security services told LGBTQ Nation on Friday that Russian law enforcement has confirmed that Martsinkevich is in the Caribbean island nation, however the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined to say whether Russian authorities would be asking the Castro government to extradite Martsinkevich.
Martsinkevich claimed on his Russian social media VKontakte (vk.com) page that he was in Cuba as early as December 10.
An consular official with the Cuban mission in New York told LGBTQ Nation that according to the visa agreement between Russia and Cuba, Russians are allowed to stay without a visa for 30 days.
The official did note that Friday [today] would be the last day possible for Martsinkevich to remain legally without a petition to the Cuban government for a status change other than that of simple tourist. He declined comment on Martsinkevich’s situation.
Martsinkevich also claimed on his VK.com page that he flew from Kyiv, Ukraine to Havana via Frankfurt, Germany. The Russian official noted that there is an active Interpol warrant for his detention and law enforcement officials suspect he is traveling on a false or altered passport.
“This may be how he [ Martsinkevich ] avoided detection and arrest in Kyiv and by German authorities,” the official told LGBTQ Nation.
Russian authorities initiated criminal proceedings in November against Martsinkevich for several homophobic assaults on LGBT persons inside the Russian federation by his group, which included attacks on citizens from Ukraine, Iraq, and South Africa.
He has been charged under Part 1 of article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code, Incitement of ethnic and social hatred. The charge is punishable by a sentence of 3–5 years imprisonment if convicted.
Martsinkevich and his followers believe that being gay equates to being a pedophile, and boast via their social media pages that they are on the “hunt” for pedophiles to eliminate this “deviant filth” from Russian society.
His group has produced numerous videos on the Russian social media giant VK.com as well as YouTube, documenting violent and homophobic harassment of men and gay youth the group claims were seeking to have sex with boys.
The graphic videos often go viral and have also been used to humiliate gay teenagers who responded to false dating invitations from what they thought were other gay youth in chat rooms.