For a long time Alexander Berezkin has been teaching sociology at Far Eastern Federal University. However, his critique of homophobic laws and active participation in the life of LGBT community provoked a wave of pressure and subsequent dismissal.
As it happened in Oleg Kluenkov’s case (another one educator, from Northern (Arctic) Federal University, who was also asked to leave his working place “voluntarily”), the story started after the exchange program in the United States in November 2013. As Berezkin told in his interview to the Voice of America, after the journey the homophobic article appeared in the local newspaper; there the teacher was described as “the traitor, doing some awful things”. Then, the petitions stating that the work of Berezkin should be checked because he might “propagate LGBT values among students, including minors” appeared. Afterwards, the educator got a call from the University and was asked to leave his working place.
The administration of the University insisted that Berezkin had to leave “voluntarily”. He was told that his contract was not going to be renewed anyway. The teacher considered various options but finally decided that he would not be able to work in the University and decided to leave the country.
For a long time Berezkin was involved in activism in Russia. He was the head of the regional office of Russian LGBT-Network at the Far East, was working with intersex people’s problems, with monitoring of discrimination of LGBT. It is his activism and his open support of LGBT community that caused his “voluntary” dismissal.