Moscow Police Chief Vladimir Pronin is allegedly spying on gay and lesbian groups via various electronic media, reports the Moscow-based website Gay Russia (

The website has published quotes from a letter it claims was written by Pronin, where he asserts that officials are “monitoring” gay and lesbian groups. The letter, dated April 30, 2007, was addressed to Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

“Units of GUVD [police] in Moscow are constantly controlling mass public actions in the city, monitoring media and Internet with the aim to take measures of preventive character and non-admission of illegal actions on the part of representatives of sexual minorities.”

The letter is being published just weeks before a contentious gay pride parade is scheduled to take place.

Luzhkov has as much as warned gay pride organizers not to stage their May 16 gay pride and march celebration planned to coincide with the finale of the Eurovision song contest to be held in Moscow.

He made his threat at a December press event for Eurovision.

“Sexual minorities, they are free,” Luzhkov told the press. “We do not allow gay parades ... Entertain yourself, no problem, but not on the streets, squares, marches and demonstrations. We never introduced any limitations in their [gay and lesbians] respect except public actions.”

Luzhkov shocked the world when just days after World AIDS Day he linked the gay rights movement to the spread of HIV.

We have banned, and will ban, the propaganda of sexual minorities' opinions because they can be one of the factors in the spread of HIV infection,” the mayor said at a December 4, 2008 conference in Moscow titled HIV/AIDS in Developed Countries.

The mayor is not issuing empty threats; he has denied gay activists a march license since 2006.

Last June, a small group of protesters led by gay rights leader Nikolai Alexeyev (sometimes spelled Alekseev) held pride flags and banners outside the famed Tchaikovsky music conservatory, in defiance of Luzhkov's ban of the event. They chanted, “No to homophobia,” and “Tchaikovsky was gay.” A second demonstration was held at a building in front of Moscow City Hall where a banner was hung reading “Rights For Gays and Lesbians – homophobia of Mayor Luzhkov to be prosecuted.” Both events lasted only minutes before the police arrived.

Four gay activists were arrested after they had fled the demonstration. Witnesses at the scene told that the police forced their way into an apartment where they had barricaded themselves by breaking down the door. The four members were held in custody overnight and charged with “taking part in an unsanctioned demonstration and for not obeying an order from the police.”

Last Friday, Pronin waded into the debate when the told the Interfax news agency that gay pride parades were “unacceptable.”

“It's unacceptable – gay pride parades shouldn't be allowed.”

“I positively agree with the Church, with the Patriarch, politicians, especially with [Mayor] Luzhkov, who are convinced that man and woman should love each other. It is established by God and nature,” he said.

Moscow gay activists insist gay pride will take place on May 16, despite those threats from the mayor and police chief.

“Gay pride public action during the final of Eurovision will take place in any circumstances,” Alexeyev told “We are not going to surrender our right to freedom of assembly and expression because it is given to us not by Mayor Luzhkov, but by the Constitution of this country.”