Slavic Pride: Tatchell Allowed Into Russia – Moscow Mayor – Gay Activists Seek Meeting – Dialogue Urged to Resolve Dispute Over Gay Parade
Peter Tatchell Moscow 2007
He urges respect for Russia’s great gay icons, such as Peter Tchaikovsky, Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Gogol
Moscow – 14 May 2009 by Peter Tatchell
“I appeal to Mayor Yuri Luzhkov to meet with me and the Slavic Gay Pride organizers to discuss his anxieties about the gay parade. We are keen to reassure him. Dialogue can create understanding and facilitate the amicable solution we seek. We are ready to meet the Mayor anywhere at anytime. I hope he will agree. Meeting us would be a generous, conciliatory gesture,” said British gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who arrived in Moscow today to support Saturday’s planned gay parade in the city centre.
The Moscow authorities have banned the gay parade and threatened “tough measures” against the marchers – even though the right to protest in guaranteed under the Russian constitution.
“Many great Russians have been gay or bisexual, including Peter Tchaikovsky, Sergei Eisentein, Modest Mussorgsky, Nijinski, Sergei Diaghilev, Nikolai Gogol, and Rudolf Nureyev. The Russian people should celebrate their gay history with pride. These gay Russian artists and intellectuals have made an immense contribution to human civilisation,” said Mr Tatchell.
Mr Tatchell is the human rights spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales. He is also the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East at the next UK general election, and hopes to be elected MP of the university city.
Nikolai Alekseev, the organizer of the gay parade said:
“All we seek is the right to hold a gay parade like they have in other European cities. This is not unreasonable. Sadly, the Moscow authorities have so far refused to meet and dialogue with us. We are sure that a solution can be found if the mayor and his officials meet us. We are offering him an olive branch. I hope he will reciprocate,” said Mr Alekseev.
At the Moscow Pride parade in 2007, Mr Tatchell was badly beaten and arrested. He has been left with permanent minor eye and brain damage, which has adversely affected his vision, concentration, memory, balance and coordination.
“I am undeterred by my violent experiences last time. It is important to support brave Russians who are defending the right to protest. The right to hold a gay parade is an issue of fundamental civil liberties. We are defending the freedom of expression of all Russians, gay and straight,” added Mr Tatchell.
Mr Tatchell was granted a Russian visa and had no trouble when he arrived at Moscow airport this morning. “Immigration officials were welcoming, friendly and courteous,” he said.
Have a look on this movie of the 2007 Moscow Gay Parade :
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