The first ever Gay Pride event set to be held in Moscow on May 28 now looks uncertain. Russia was fined last year by the European Court of Human Rights for banning Pride marches in the past. The court ruled the ban unlawful.
Yesterday, Moscow’s most respected gay-rights campaigner, Nikolai Alexeyev, was saying: “The authorities must now ensure the security of the participants in line with the ruling of the European Court.”
Pink News said: “Yury Luzkhov, the previous mayor of Moscow, who was sacked last September, had been an outspoken critic of the proposals to allow gay parades, describing them as ‘Satanic.’ The current mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, has also said he is not in favour of the idea.”
Alexeyev, who is the organizer of Pride, said in an interview with Moscow News (in Russian) that the event has usually aimed to be as close to May 27 as possible. However, in 2009, it was the year for Russia to host the final of the Eurovision Song Contest – an event very popular among the gay community – so march organizers tried to move the date.
Pink News quotes Alexeyev as saying the move to allow Pride is “a crippling blow to Russian homophobia on all accounts.”
However, it’s now looking uncertain, says
The Moscow Gay Pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev
Pink News, as Moscow authorities are said to be “studying” the proposal, according to the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
Lyudmila Shvetsova, overseer of the capital’s social policy, is quoted as saying: “We are studying the proposals and will reply in due time.”
When gay-rights activists have tried to defy the ban in previous years, they’ve found themselves attacked by both nationalist and religious groups and by members of the city’s police force.
There was jubilation when the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg overturned Moscow’s Pride ban last year.
Alexeyev claimed at the time that the parade bans in 2006, 2007 and 2008 had breached the European Convention on Human Rights.
The court ruling read:
The main reason for the bans on the gay marches had been the authorities’ disapproval of demonstrations which, they considered, promoted homosexuality.
In particular, the court could not disregard the strong personal opinions publicly expressed by the Moscow mayor and the undeniable link between those statements and the bans.
Consequently, the court found that, as the government had not justified their bans in a way compatible with the Convention requirements, Mr Alekseev [variant spelling of Alexeyev] had suffered discrimination because of his sexual orientation.RIA Novosti says of last year’s court ruling: “The court in Strasbourg said fears that such marches could cause outrage and provoke violence were unfounded and ordered Russia to pay $41,090 in damages and for legal fees.”