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RUSSIA

Gay Pride March in Moscow Will Be Under Watchful Eye of International Community

 

 


Russia Holds Two International “Presidencies” in 2006

 


COMMENTARY

MOSCOW, January 3, 2006 (GayRussia.Ru wire)  –  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” festival.

What the handful of negative soothsayers have failed to take into consideration is that the city authorities will simply not be permitted to stand in the way of the gay and lesbian “celebration” at the end of May.

Russia has just taken over the presidency of the G8 nations.  And one of the main issues that Russia is including it the agenda for the G8 summit at the Konstantinovski Palace near St. Petersburg a month after Moscow Pride is the fight against HIV/AIDS and other worrying diseases like malaria and tuberculosis.

Will Russia want the world to know that in May a gay festival in the country that itself was addressing the subject of HIV/AIDS was outlawed by the authorities when there were a reported 30,000 new cases of HIV in the country?

Apart from presidency of G8 – and perhaps more importantly when it comes to the Moscow Pride Parade, Russia will also have another very important role in 2006.  On May 19, just six days before the Moscow Pride Festival is due to start, Russia takes over the Presidency of the Council of Europe – the organisation which is the main human rights organisation that unites no less than 46 different countries, slightly more than half of them are members of the European Union.

Obviously the Russian authorities will not allow any decision of Moscow city authorities to limit Russian gays and lesbians of their right to meetings and demonstrations, guaranteed not only by Russian constitution but also by the European Convention – the main document of the Council of Europe.

Even the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on television recently that “the role of [the presidency] means special efforts to find compromises and mutually acceptable solutions with partners.  That is how we are going to act on the position of the president”.

“The mere fact of conducting such event and the provision of security for its participants will become a major check for Russia in terms of its readiness to respect rights and liberties as well as principles of democracy, followed by member-states of the Council of Europe and G8,” said Nikolai Alekseev, one of the organizers of Moscow LGBT-festival.

“In the current political and international circumstances, in which Russia found itself in 2006, I cannot even imagine that Russian authorities will take steps to ban the gay pride and other events of the festival.  Russia can not allow itself to risk its reputation a week after the start of Russian presidency in the Council of Europe and just before the summit of G8 leaders in St. Petersburg,” he suggested.

“As the fact that Russia is becoming president of two prestigious forums in 2006, this year can bring further developments in democracy and liberty in Russia,” he pointed out.

“Many experts are saying that political and international reputation of Russia rests on presiding in G8 and Council of Europe.

“On May 27, 2006, the day of the first Moscow gay pride parade, Russia will be under watchful eye of the whole international community.  Russia has to prove to the world that it is following the principles of democratic development and respect for human rights, as well as has full involvement in the global problems of humanity.”

 

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Posted: 3 January, 2006 at 23:30 (UK time)

 

 

 

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