Back in the early 1990s, St. Petersburg businessman Maksim Freidzon never would have predicted that the plain-looking bureaucrat sitting on the other side of the desk would one day be the most powerful man in Russia.
We knock again, hard. But still there is no sound of anyone coming to the door. A journalist colleague and I had been invited for dinner at the home of Nika, a gay man who recently set up a small LGBTQ support group in Bishkek, the Kyrgyzstan capital. Only after we phone him do we finally hear muffled sounds from inside of first one, then two heavy metal doors being unlocked.