It now appears, contrary to earlier reports, that Moscow city authorities have not given the go-ahead for a Pride event to take place next month.
Organisers of the Moscow Pride event, scheduled for 28 May, had earlier this week announced that approval had been granted for their rally, effectively ending a ban on Pride gatherings in the city since 2006.
There are now contradictory claims by city officials, with the Department of Culture at City Hall stating that a letter of approval had been signed by Deputy Mayor Lyudmila Shvetsova, but Shvetsova later denying that she had done so.
Russian news agency Interfax quoted Shvetsova as saying that, “We are studying these proposals, and they will receive an answer within due time. I have not given any answers yet”.
A source also told Interfax that the Regional Security Department is unlikely to grant permission for the event “even under the guise of a cultural and educational action”.
“Welcome to Russian politics,” commented Nikolai Alekseev, Moscow Gay Pride chief organiser.
“I would not be surprised if City Hall used this trick to tell me that our application was approved in order to check the reaction of the public opinion prior to making up their mind,” he said.
The planned Pride rally is themed “Moscow Gay Pride: Homosexuality in the History of World Culture and Civilization” and is set to take place on May 28 between 1 and 3 pm on Bolotnaya Square in central Moscow.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the previous bans on Moscow Pride contravened the European Human Rights Convention.