Gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev has sued veteran human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva for calling him a liar, Interfax reported Friday.
He said in the defamation lawsuit filed in the Moscow Presnensky District Court that Alexeyeva, who heads the Moscow Helsinki Group and is not related to Alexeyev, had accused him "of lying often" in an Aug. 31 interview with Ekho Moskvy radio, the report said.
Alexeyev wants Alexeyeva to apologize and retract her remarks.
Alexeyeva, 83, confirmed by telephone Friday that she had called Alexeyev a liar.
As an example, she said, Alexeyev had invited Alexei Mitrofanov, a former State Duma deputy with the Liberal Democratic Party and a gay rights supporter, against her wishes to a news conference supporting gay pride parades that she had provided the venue for several years ago. She said she had opposed Mitrofanov's participation because he had repeatedly spoken negatively about human rights activists in the past.
Alexeyev, writing on his blog Friday, said he could not be held responsible because the news conference had been organized at his request by another gay rights activist, Alexei Davydov. He also said Davydov had assured him that Mitrofanov's participation would not damage relations with the Moscow Helsinki Group.
Alexeyeva said her group has continued promoting gay rights since the news conference but decided to work through opposition activist Sergei Konstantinov instead of gay rights activists.
She grew upset while discussing the lawsuit.
"Who is this Alexeyev to be suing me?" she said, adding that the conflict was "not worth a farthing" and hanging up.
In late August, Alexeyev urged the opposition to join forces with gay rights activists, but an opposition leader, Eduard Limonov, refused to comment on the notion at the time, calling it a “slippery” issue.
On Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights issued a landmark ruling on a complaint filed by Alexeyev, ordering Russian authorities to pay 29,510 euros ($41,090) for not allowing him to organize gay pride parades.