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Influential Russian Feminist Activist Tatiana Nikonova Dies at 43

Tatiana Nikonova advocated gender equality, sexual literacy and LGBT rights to her hundreds of thousands of followers. Instagram / nikonova.online

An influential Russian feminist activist and sex blogger, Tatiana Nikonova, has died from an unknown illness at age 43, a message on her website said Wednesday.

Nikonova had advocated gender equality, sexual literacy and adolescent sex education, and supported the LGBT movement since 2001. She launched a feminist blog in 2012 and had since gained hundreds of thousands of social media followers.

“Tanya Nikonova died suddenly due to illness this afternoon,” her friends and colleagues wrote on her website, Nikonova.online, late Wednesday.

They did not disclose the cause of Nikonova’s death. The activist had written on Facebook last week that she was in the hospital, BBC’s Russia service said

The household magazine Domashnyi Ochag reported that Nikonova wrote on a personal blog that she had been diagnosed with hemorrhagic fever in the hospital, and her condition was complicated by recently diagnosed diabetes.

Nikonova was the first Russian blogger to speak about her personal experience using sex toys, according to BBC Russia. 

She is also known for a series of public debates with conservative lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, who frequently courts controversy with his anti-LGBT and pro-Orthodox Christian remarks.

She had worked as a freelance writer for prominent Russian lifestyle magazines including GQ, Afisha Daily, The Village and the online women’s magazine Wonderzine.

Nikonova had launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2017 to publish a free sex education textbook, which was due to come out the next year. She said in May 2020 that she had pushed the deadline due to health issues, disclosing that her diagnosis with bipolar disorder had kept her away from the project.

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