moscowpride2Organizers to ask Eurovision participants to wear Slavic Pride pins during the show

By Nicolas Alexeyev

MOSCOW, March 8, 2009 – Moscow’s police chief, Vladimir Pronin, has said gay pride parades in the capital are “unacceptable”.

“It’s unacceptable – gay pride parades shouldn’t be allowed,” he told the Russian news agency Interfax on Friday.

“No one will dare to do it, such “brave-heart” will be torn to shreds,” he added.

“The West can say we’re bad guys, but our people will see it is right. Our country is patriarchal, that’s sums it up,” he stressed.

“I positively agree with the Church, with the Patriarch, politicians, especially with [Mayor] Luzhkov, who are convinced that man and woman should love each other. It is established by God and nature,” the police chief said.

Mr Pronin, as head of Moscow Police reports directly to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, however, practically, his nomination has to be validated by the Mayor of Moscow.

This is not the first statement of Mr Pronin against freedom of assembly for LGBT people in Moscow.

GayRussia obtained a copy of a letter that Mr Pronin sent to Yuri Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow, in which the Police head confirms that his services are watching the Moscow Pride organizers in order to prevent their actions.

In the letter dated April 30th 2007, Mr Pronin told Mr Luzhkov: “Units of GUVD in Moscow are constantly controlling mass public actions in the city, monitoring media and Internet with the aim to take measures of preventive character and non-admission of illegal actions on the part of representatives of sexual minorities”.

However, Moscow Pride organizers are not particularly concerned by the statement of the Police head.

“Mr Pronin already showed his in competency last year when his services were unable to prevent us unveiling a banner directed against the Mayor, right opposite his office,” said Nikolai Alekseev.

Mr Alekseev was speaking from Minsk where he held a third preparation seminar with local activists. This year Moscow Pride is a joint project of Russian Belarusian activists branded as the “Slavic Pride”.

“The statement of Mr Pronin only attracts more media attention to the Slavic Pride which is good in the framework of the Eurovision,” added Nikolai Baev.

“The world already knows about the systematic breach of human rights by Moscow officials. This is nothing new,” he added.

This year, Moscow Pride will take place on May 16th, the day of the Eurovision song contest final.

Pride organisers said today that they are in contact with participants of the show, asking them to wear the Slavic Pride pin’s while performing live during the show.

Organisers vowed that their fight for freedom of assembly goes much further than among the LGBT community.

“We believe this is the best way for those who support democratic values in Europe and who take part in the show to bring support to human rights campaigners in Russia,” said Mr. Alekseev.

“The fight for Moscow Pride is very symptomatic of the fight for Human Rights values in this country,” he added.

To date, Russian authorities have banned over 167 events LGBT events. GayRussia indicated that all these bans have been or are in the process to be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.

Moscow Pride organisers indicated that they will release their plans for May at the end of March.



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