Masha Gessen is one of Russia's best known journalists, responsible for the fascinating Vladimir Putin autobiography "The Man Without A Face."

She's leaving Russia and heading to New York City, however, because she's gay and she's scared of the Russian state taking away her children.

Gessen, a Russian-American, moved to Moscow in 1991, and has seen the evolution of LGBT rights in the country. As she explains in this interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, she's seen the situation gradually improve over the years, before a sudden deterioration in the last couple of years.

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Gay rights in Russia are clearly problem — Moscow has banned gay pride festivals for 100 years, "gay propaganda" was recently banned by the Russian Duma, and verbal and physical bullying of gay men and women in Russia appears to be shockingly accepted.

But Gessen does offer some hope. She supports boycotts on Russian vodka and pressure ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics, saying that it does appear to be making a difference.

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