Moscow authorities on Tuesday agreed to
allow for the first time a Gay Pride march to proceed, The Moscow
Gay rights activists were jubilant at
the news. “This is a crippling blow to Russian homophobia on all
counts,” Nikolai Alexeyev, head of Moscow Pride, said.
The former administration of Yury
Luzhkov banned such events for the past five years and aggressively
shut down any unauthorized demonstrations.
Last January, Luzhkov vowed to “crack
down” on gay pride parades.
“For several years, Moscow has
experienced unprecedented pressure to conduct a gay pride parade,
which cannot be called anything but a Satanic act,” Luzhkov said.
“We have prevented such a parade and we will not allow it in the
future. Everyone needs to accept this as an axiom.”
“It is high time to crack down on the
parade with all the power and justice of the law, instead of talking
about human rights,” he added.
During two separate events last year,
gay rights activists defied authorities and marched for greater
About 25 people carrying banners and
shouting “No discrimination on the grounds of orientation”
marched for about 10 minutes on The Arbat, a shop-lined street
popular with tourists visiting Moscow.
Later in the day, activists, including
British gay rights advocate Peter Tatchell, unfurled a 20-meter long
rainbow flag in northwestern Moscow and chanted “Russia without
In 2009, a few demonstrators gathered
near Moscow State University where they chanted “Homophobia is the
shame of Russia!” and “Equal rights for everyone!” They
were quickly surrounded by police who violently arrested the
This year's authorized May 28 march
will take place between 1PM and 3PM at Bolotnaya Ploshchad.
The administration of Mayor Sergei
Sobyanin did not comment on the reasons for the reversal.