Moscow Bans Gay Parade to Appease ‘Gov’t Agencies, Cossacks’

Gay parade (archive). Source: Drugoi.livejournal.comMoscow city authorities have banned a gay pride parade set for May 28, saying such an event could lead to a wave of backlash protests, reports.

On May 17, the advocacy project GayRussia.Ru posted the official letter sent to the parade’s organizers explaining the city’s decision. “At the current time, the government of Moscow is receiving numerous messages from representatives of state government agencies and subjects of the Russian Federation, religious denominations, public organizations, the Cossacks, and individual citizens asking that we not allow such public events to be held,” the letter reads. “In the opinion of many respondents, the parade could bring about a wave of protests that could snowball into mass violations of public order.”

Moscow gay rights leader Nikolai Alekseev said the permit request had been filed with city authorities on April 12. “It was done a day after the verdict from the European Court of Human Rights saying that Moscow’s bans of three gay parades from 2006-2008 were illegal went into effect,” he said, referring to the court’s October 2010 ruling that the Russian authorities had violated three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights by banning the parades.

Alekseev stressed that “the government of the capital and Mayor Sobyanin personally will be responsible for any possible disorder in the center of Moscow on May 28. We intend to uphold our right to peaceful assembly, even without the permission of the authorities.”

He also said that he plans to appeal the ban and that gay rights activists intend to send a letter to President Dmitri Medvedev asking permission to hold the parade next to the Kremlin in the Alexander Gardens.

In addition, a press release on GayRussia.Ru says that activists are appealing to world governments asking them to ban homophobic Russian government representatives from entering their countries.

In Alekseev’s words, a list of 487 politicians, civil servants, and public figures, 100 judges, 19 government agencies and 40 parties, movements and organizations that the activists have deemed are homophobic will be sent to the European Union and other democratic countries for them to consider whether they want to offer entry visas to people who openly promote hatred of sexual minorities and don’t share the fundamental values of a free democratic society.

The list includes Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov, the United Russia party, the Communist party, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Justice Ministry, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the entire makeup of the Constitutional Court, and others.