LONDON, February 17, 2006 – Gay men and women in Russia
are tonight very encouraged at the world-wide response to the homophobic
outbursts of religious leaders and the Mayor of Moscow during the week, with
the Mayor proclaiming that Moscow Pride in May was a non-starter.
Condemnation of the outbursts, coupled with messages of
solidarity with Russian gays, has come from across Europe – and as far a
field as New Zealand.
In Paris, Louis-Georges Tin, the founder of International
Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) called for protest demonstrations outside
Russian Embassies worldwide on March 2.
Within hours, IDAHO groups in France and UK both
announced they would be staging protests in Paris and London. And they were
swiftly followed by Poland who pledged support in Warsaw, one of several
European cities that has its own Pride “problems”.
British MEP Michael Cashman, who is president of the
European Parliament’s ‘intergroup’ on gay and lesbian rights, spoke out
condemning the statements that have come from Moscow during the week.
be raising this with the Human Rights Committee and the Foreign Affairs
Committee in the European Parliament, as well as the Commission,” he said.
“This kind of language and behaviour is totally unacceptable and gives an
appalling insight into the discrimination, hatred and intolerance that the
LGBT community face every day in Russia.”
In Berlin, the openly gay mayor Klaus Wowereit was
preparing for the second summit meeting of the “M4” – a meeting between the
mayors of Berlin, London, Moscow and Paris – scheduled for Wednesday
Normally, the meeting would have been a routine affair,
with few eyebrows raised. But following this week’s homophobic statement
from Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, the summit could well attract considerable
In addition to Berlin’s gay mayor, the mayor of Paris,
Bertrand Delanoe, is also openly gay, while London’s Ken Livingstone is very
“gay friendly”. All three cities have large annual Gay Pride Parades.
Appeals have already been made to the three mayors to
tackle Mr. Luzhkov over his remarks about Moscow Pride, with a spokesman for
Mr. Delanoe’s office in Paris saying the mayor would certainly have
something to say if asked at the post summit press conference.
In Moscow itself, Pride organisers have been busy all day
being interviewed by the foreign media, including RTL and BBC.
But they found time to file a complaint at the General
Prosecutor’s (Attorney General) office about the statements of
Supreme Mufti of the Central
Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of Russia, Talgat Tajuddin.
Pride organisers asked that a criminal prosecution be
started against him on the basis of inciting hatred towards a social group
which is covered by Article 282 of the Criminal Code of Russia.
IDAHO-UK co-ordinator Derek Leonard said that the first
Moscow Pride was of enormous importance not only in Russia itself but also
to the LGBT communities in the Baltic and Eastern European countries.
“All those who are able to take the freedom to organise
Pride for granted will surely want show their support for the LGBT community
in Moscow,” he said.
Mr. Leonard added that he hoped there would be massive
solidarity for Russian gays at IDAHO-UK’s protest at the Russian Embassy in
London on March 2.
Louis-Georges Tin pointed out that the Mayor of Moscow
was wrong in his statement that the majority of Muscovites were against gays
and the proposed Pride.
“A recent poll found that 51% of Russians thought that
gays and lesbians should have the same rights as all other people,” he
“These political and religious statements are clearly
threatening human rights and diffusing hatred in the whole country.
“Many Russian citizens and many activists from all over
the world are expected in Moscow in May. Additionally, several artists and
politicians from UK, Belgium, France, Holland and Brazil are also going to
be in Moscow for Pride.”
Back in Moscow, Nikolai Alekseev, one of the Pride
organisers, went into the ‘lions den’ for a live radio interview on CITY FM,
which takes the ‘side’ of the Mayor.
Alekseev astounded the programme’s presenter when he
accused the radio station of siding with those who breached human rights.
Echo Moskvy, the independent – and popular – radio
station is supporting the idea of Moscow Gay Pride. The head of the radio
station Alexey Venediktov suggested that those who objected to the gay
parade might consider getting out of town for the day, or stay at home.
Journalist Natalia Gevorkyan was “outraged” at the recent
statements, while respected TV commentator Evgeniy Kiselev commented that
there “was an equals sign between homophobia and Nazism”.
Matvei Ganapolskiy, another famous broadcaster suggested
on Echo Moskvy that the statement of the Mufti was “illegal, and he must be
sued for that”.
the Russian weekend started the first indirect reaction came from the
the most famous Russian attorneys at law and doctor of law, who is also a
representative of the Russian government in Constitutional Court, said on
Echo Moskvy that he was shocked by the words of the Mufti and that the first
thing he had in his mind was to take part in the pride himself “even though
I am not gay at all”.
indicated that the Moscow Mayor has no legal basis to ban the Pride.
Alekseev is scheduled to be on
alongside a more moderate Mufti. The talk show will be presented by
Andrei Cherkizov, one of the few openly gay public figures in Russia.
Cherkizov was the former Minister of Information in the Boris Yeltsin era..
Mayor of London Asked to Intervene in Moscow Gay Pride
“Ban”. The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has called on the Mayor of London, Ken
Livingstone, to appeal to his counterpart in Moscow to lift the threat of a
ban on a gay pride parade in the city scheduled for the end of May.
(UK Gay News - February 17, 2006)
Moscow Authorities Will Not Allow Gay
Pride In Any Form – Mayor’s Office.
The row over the
planned Gay Pride in Moscow, highlighted over the past two days by religious
leaders, went squarely into the local political arena today when the Moscow
city authorities said they will not permit “under any circumstances” the
first-ever Gay Pride parade, scheduled for the end of May in the city.
(UK Gay News - February 16, 2006)
Russian Muslim Leader Calls For Gays to
be “Thrashed”. Russian Muslims could arrange serious protest actions if representatives of “sexual
minorities” try to stage a Gay Pride parade later in Moscow in May,
according to Interfax news agency following an outburst from an extremist
religious leader. (UK Gay News - February 15, 2006)
Protest Letter Over Anti-Gay Russian TV News Broadcast.
of British gay literary giant Oscar Wilde has written personally to the
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, following a biased and homophobic television programme
screened in Russia last weekend. (UK Gay News - February 8, 2006)
Russian Web Sites Claim Moscow Gay
Pride Is On Religious Holiday ...
But they get dates
wrong as they try to whip-up objections. A number of news internet sites in Russia have started
what appears to be a campaign against Moscow’s LGBT Festival and Gay Pride.
suggest that the
festival and Pride Parade will take place on May 24, a day considered as a
‘religious holiday’ in Russia.
(UK Gay News - January 31, 2006)
Gay Pride March in Moscow Will Be Under
Watchful Eye of International Community.
Commentary. The Russian gay and
lesbian community are convinced that 2006 will be a watershed year. Some have said that the projected Moscow Pride – the
first-ever in the city – is doomed to failure. Russia, they say, is just
not ready for a “Pride” event, let alone the accompanying “cultural”
(UK Gay News - January 3, 2006)