Pride organisers protest the ban, June 2008. (Pic:

Any attempts by pride organisers to hold a parade in Moscow this month will be dealt with by the authorities, City Hall spokesman Leonid Krutakov has said.

“There have been no official applications for permission to hold gay parades during the May holidays and all attempts to hold such events will be firmly stopped by the authorities,” Krutakov told News agency RIA Novosti last week.

However, according to, applications have indeed been made, and the organisers are set to hold the march on May 16; during the city’s hosting of the Eurovision song contest.

“We are not going to surrender our right to freedom of assembly and expression,” said Nikolai Alekseev, head of Moscow Pride.

Moscow Mayor’s chief of security, Nikolai Kulikov, stated in an interview on local radio station Echo Moskvy that the Gay Pride conference and festival would be banned: “All public expressions [by gays and lesbians] must be banned… They violate our rights. We have our traditions; many religious groups told us that they were against this gay pride.”

Despite homosexuality having been legal in Russia since 1993, the annual pride parade was first banned in 2006, but went ahead anyway. The march was met by protesters who attacked and injured participants with more than 120 people being arrested.

In 2007 and 2008, despite numerous applications to hold events, Pride remained banned. Organisers’ attempts to hold protest marches were again met with violence and police intimidation.

Moscow’s mayor, Yury Luzhkov, has called the marches “satanic” in the past. “We think that destructive sects and propaganda of same-sex love are inadmissible,” Luzhkov said.

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