A gay Russian model who was often the target of homophobic attacks for wearing women’s clothes has died in a car crash that also killed two others.
Pavel Petel had been beaten up together with his boyfriend in their home Moscow and he had also accused the government of encouraging homophobia.
He said that he and Sergey Ostrikov were “lucky to be alive” after being beaten up and complained that people in the region were very “aggressive towards gays”.
He also added that ever since, he had become more concerned for his safety, saying he had even seen public figures on television calling for the need to burn the hearts of homosexuals.
In an interview with American channel CNN five years ago he also admitted that while continuing to perform he had become more afraid and added: “I’m afraid to do what I used to. I’ll probably change. I’m scared to go out onto the streets now wearing wigs or heels. I’ve started to wear them much more rarely.”
He said even in the Soviet era “life was easier” and added “there was no pressure to make you chose who you are.”
But now Sergey has posted a message online to say that Pavel died earlier today (Monday).
He posted an image of the car he was in wedged under the back of a lorry and wrote: “Received confirmation from the morgue. Pavel died.”
He said that Ukrainian born Pavel, who did not have Russian citizenship, had gone to the Sakharovo immigration centre in the Moscow region when the accident happened. He said that the paperwork had been handed in and Pavel was on his way home from applying for a work permit when the accident happened on the Warsaw motorway.
Sergey said he was now trying to work out how to organise a funeral. He said: “Pavel has no relatives in Russia. The only person who was close to him is me, but I am not legally able to organise his affairs. Now I’m trying to decide with the Ukrainian and Russian authorities what to do in this situation.”
A video of the crash was shown by local TV and a picture shows the white Mercedes in which Pavel was allegedly travelling wedged under the rear of a lorry.
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