Moscow’s gay community is fighting to prevent the closure of the oldest and most popular gay club in the Russian capital.
According to GayRussia, the club is being closed after pressure was put on the building’s owner, the Russian Society of Blind People, to terminate its lease.
It’s been claimed that Oleg Mitvol, the Prefect of the Northern District of Moscow, threatened the society with suspending its subsidies if it did not force the club to leave the premises.
Mitvol, who has been engaged in a “campaign on morality”, is reportedly competed against one of the heads of the society in an election battle this week.
A petition, signed by 1,084 gays and lesbians, has been sent to the Russian President, Moscow’s Mayor and the Human Rights Ombudsman. In Strasbourg, the petition was also handed to the General Secretary, the Committee of Ministers and the Human Rights Commissioner at the Council of Europe.
On Tuesday, several Russian music stars are expected to take part in a press conference in Moscow designed to attract the attention of the public and to press the government to end pressure on the LGBT community – and let the club continue operating.
It has also been announced that the issue will be put forward during the upcoming UN Human Rights Committee review of Russia’s compliance of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Geneva.
Last week, the European Court of Human Rights gave Russia until January 20 to justify the ban of 163 LGBT public events, including Moscow Prides, since 2006.