Moscow officials have banned a gay
pride parade scheduled to coincide with the May 16 Eurovision Song
Contest finale, reports gayrussia.ru.
City officials called the parade,
dubbed Slavic Pride, “a threat to the moral fabric of our society.”
“Not only [does gay visibility]
destroy the moral fabric of our society, but it also deliberately
provokes unrest and threatens the lives and security of Muscovites
and guests of the capital,” said Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's spokesman,
Sergei Tsoi. “In the first place, such actions threaten the
security of those who wish to participate. All this is absolutely
Prominent gay activist and chief
organizer of Slavic Pride Nikolai Alekseev said he expects at least
100 activists will join him in defying authorities.
“The event will be held under any
circumstances,” Alekseev said Thursday. “This right is
guaranteed by our constitution. And no official, including the
Moscow mayor, has the right to violate it.”
Tensions remain high between gay groups
and authorities in Russia after several hostile incidents.
Last June, Moscow's Gay Pride event
resembled more a game of cat and mouse as gay activists eluded police
and anti-gay foes in two gay demonstrations.
A small group of protesters led by
Alekseev held pride flags and banners outside the famed Tchaikovsky
music conservatory. 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.” The police quickly pulled it down. Hundreds of
balloons were set free over Moscow.
Both demonstrations lasted only minutes
before police arrived on the scene. The brevity and undisclosed
location of the demonstrations allowed activists to elude the police.
Police, however, managed to arrest four gay activists upon returning
to their apartment. Witnesses at the scene told ukgaynews.org.uk
that the police forced their way into the apartment 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.”
And in October, authorities in St.
Petersburg shut down a gay and lesbian film festival as it was set to
open by declaring the nightclubs (The Place and Sochi)
where the films were to be screened fire hazards, festival organizer
Irina Sergeeva told gayrussia.ru.
It's believed that authorities also
pressured the state-run Cinema House and a private theater to cancel
their commitments to host the event, which pushed the first-ever
festival into bars and nightclubs.
State Artist of Russia Nikoli Burlyaev
had urged authorities to ban the gay film festival, calling gays
“perverts” and “ill.”
Luzhkov has denied gay activists a
parade license since 2006, and once called the parade “a satanic
Last year, he
shocked the world when just days after World AIDS Day he linked the
gay rights movement to the spread of HIV.
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.
Gay activists have
asked Eurovision Song Contest competitors to support gay rights by
wearing pride pins on stage.