Media such as KPHG and Radio Free Europe are full of the suicide of Vladimir Kolesnikov. They paint it as yet another symptom of the lack of freedom in Russia.
The problems of this 18-year old boy started when last june he went to his school in a Moscow suburb with a T-shirt featuring a Ukrainian flag and the words: "Return Crimea." He got trouble in his school and with his grandfather with whom he lived and he was repeatedly beaten up. After some time he was sent to his father who lives in some small provincial town. There his trouble continued, made even worse by his homosexuality. In the end he gave up and committed suicide.
As the title ("How My Friend, Vlad Kolesnikov, Was Driven To His Death In Putin's Russia") of the article written by Claire Bigg for Radio Free Europe already suggests it is a real tear jerker.
However, I see the situation from the opposite side. Far from being his best friend - as Bigg presents herself - I see someone who took advantage of a lonely boy who desperately wanted to belong to something. It must have been easy to convince him of the superiority of Western culture with its tolerance of homosexuality. It gave him 2000 Facebook "friends" and "friends" such as Bigg who lived thousands of kilometers away. But these were false friends - keeping him disconnected from his own environment and preventing him from making up with those who were close to him.
A true friend of Vladimir would not have filled his head with nonsense about how brave he was doing this. It would instead have explained to him that this is a sensitive issue in Russia and that of a lot of Russians have died in Ukraine and that for those reasons he should be subtle in his support for Ukraine.