Archive for the ‘Nicolas Alexeyev’ Category

Homophobia in Russia: Eurovision Protest 2009

An opponent of the rights of LGBT people wants to close the gap between Russian and International laws.

Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev.

A Member of the Federation Council of Russia – the Upper-Chamber of the Parliament – Vasily Likhachev, known for his sharp rejection of the civil rights of sexual minorities, was appointed Deputy Minister of Justice.

As reported Gazeta.ru on February 27, the main point in his agenda will be to close the gap between the Russian and the International laws.

But when it comes to LGBT rights the new Deputy Minister of Justice is well known for a series of homophobic remarks.

Just two days before his appointment, Mr Likhachev publicly justified the denial by the Ministry of Justice to register ‘Marriage Equality Russia’, a gay group advocating for same-sex marriage:

“The steps taken by the representatives of the gay community, contradict with the general state of morality of the Russian society because it is not our culture and our form of relations”

In 2006, Mr Likhachev called to use any way to stop the process of family rights of same-sex couple “Already in 7 countries of the European Union, homosexuals are allowed to adopt children. The number of countries where same-sex marriages are permitted continues to grow, that’s why in questions concerning gays, there shouldn’t be maximum permissiveness otherwise, we will go too far and the development of the world will go in the wrong direction”

He further defended the ban of a gay pride in Moscow, arguing that “Minority affects the interests of the majority. City authorities are absolutely right that they did not follow the interest of sexual minorities. There could not be any other discussion here”

A similar position that Mr Likhachev repeated a year later in 2007: The society should not abide by the desires of sexual minorities because homosexuals touch the interest of the majority of the people of traditional orientation,

“The respect of human rights must not violate the moral and ethic. And if such a violation occurs, the authorities must apply the relevant laws to prevent it”

Commenting about the appointment of Mr Likhachev, Nikolai Baev, a co-organizer of Moscow Pride said:

“The new Deputy Minister of Justice does not consider the rights of homosexuals to depend on the constitution or the law of this country,

“Moral, ethic and the interest of the majority of the population is sufficient in his eyes to discriminate against us” said Nikolai Baev.

Gay activist further expressed concerns about the future of registering LGBT groups as non-profit organization in the country.

“The Ministry of Justice denied so far to register any NGO which would officially advocate for the rights of gays and lesbians, but, with the appointment of Mr Likhachev we doubt the trend will reverse”

“The only solution is to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights but this process takes years” ended Nikolai Baev.

GayRussia.Ru
http://www.gayrussia.ru/en/news/detail.php?ID=15226

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Religious and Nationalist Groups call for the ban of St Petersburg Pride

Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev

Extracts of a letter addressed to the Governor of the City.

A group of Religious and Nationalist organizations sent a common letter to the Governor of St Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko, asking her to prohibit any gay pride march in the city.

The letter of which ‘rusk.ru’ received a copy says:

“We are categorically against holding any public events, which in any way present a propaganda of sexual perversions.

“Any parade is a demonstration – demonstration is a form of propaganda. As a result, a gay pride is a propaganda of homosexuality.

“Love between a man and a woman exists only for one purpose – to give birth to a new life but gay pride is the propaganda of death”

“But why does no one remember that holding these actions grossly violates the right of the majority and is doubtful from the point of moral action?

“After all, for the majority of our country and, in particular, for our city, homosexuality is an unacceptable deviation from the norm, a moral rejection and a disgust.

“We are constantly told that democracy is the government of majority, but it turns out that the interests of the majority would be sacrificed to a handful of people with unnatural sexual orientation”

The statement is signed by several nationalists and religious groups among them “Intellectuals of the Orthodox Church; Russian Imperial Movement; Movement “For Faith and Fatherland”, “People’s Cathedral”, “Imperial Russia Union”.

The first official gay pride in St Petersburg is scheduled on June 26.

GayRussia.Ru

http://www.gayrussia.ru/en/news/detail.php?ID=15227

Russia denied registering a Gay Group campaigning for Marriage Equality

Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev

The Russian Ministry of Justice turned down the application of a group of gay and lesbian activists to register the first All Russia NGO dedicated to support the campaign for Same-Sex Marriage.

“Your organization cannot be registered on the basis that its aims contradict the law on NGOs and provisions of the family code which define marriage as a union between a man and a woman“ says the letter received by the board of the organization.

The board said today that “we asked today the Russian justice to reverse this illegal decision, and we will go all the way up the European Court of Human Rights if necessary”

‘Marriage Equality Russia’ is backed by a group of Moscow and St Petersburg LGBT groups as well as individuals, also heterosexuals.

The campaign is already running since last May when the group helped a lesbian couple to register their union in Moscow. After getting a denial from the Civil Registrar, the couple entered into Marriage last October in Toronto.

The couple is about to introduce an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights after the Russian justice twice upheld the denial.

One of the spouses, Irina Fedotova (Fet), a board member of ‘Marriage Equality Russia’ said about her participation in the organization:

“This campaign is not only about my marriage with Irina. We want to bring our contribution to help opening the way to marriage to other gays and lesbians and not only in Russia”.

Nikolai Alekseev, spokesman for ‘Marriage Equality Russia’ said:

“Russia is a country where you cannot hold a march in the streets if you openly advertize it as gay, and this is the same with registering an openly gay organization”

“We could probably succeed in registering a NGO and remain discreet on its aim or organize a march without applying it as a gay march, but there is simply no sense in staying in the closet. Only the fight for visibility gets you in the media and help with time to make more people open about us.”

“Knocking at each door in secret and quietly explain what is homosexuality is not going to take us anywhere in a country of 141 million”

Last October, a group of UN experts found that discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation is “systematic”.

Marriage Equality Russia

Logo of the organization available on line at: www.marriageequality.ru/en
Photos and videos of All Russia’s marriage campaign available on www.marriageequality.ru/en

“This is our caricature for GayRussia.Ru on Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov who called this week to punish gays and gay parades: “It’s high time that we stop propagating nonsense discussions about human rights, and bring to bear on them the full force and justice of the law”. He knows he will loose… agony…”Nicolas Alexeyev

Mayor Luzhkov Has Again Hits Out at Gay Pride Parade in Moscow, Calling it Satanic

Organisers vow to go ahead and will return to the streets of the capital on May 29

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has fiered his customary broadside at the Russian Capital’s annual Gay Pride, repeating his usage of such descriptions as “satanic”.

Speaking at the opening of the XVIII Christmas Educational Readings in Moscow, Mayor Luzhkov, said that for several years there had been unprecedented pressure to hold a Gay Pride Parade.

“[The parade] cannot be called anything but a Satanic act, the Mayor said. “We have prevented such a parade and we will not allow it in the future. Everyone needs to accept this as an axiom.

“It is high time to crack down on the parade with all the power and justice of the law, instead of talking about human rights.

“We need a social whip or something like that, not a liberal ginger cake,” the Mayor said in a speech that closely resembled his remarks about Gay Pride a year ago to Christmas Educational Readings.

He coupled what he called the “open propaganda of same-sex so-called love”, with such “social ills” as drug abuse, xenophobia and ethnic hostility.

“There was nothing in Luzhkov’s speech that we haven’t heard before,” Moscow Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev said this afternoon.

“All the same medieval and homophobic rhetoric, under the obscurantist sauce.”

According to Mr. Alexeyev, the approaching inevitability of gay pride in Moscow is not a theorem and an axiom.

“Our axiom is much stronger than Luzhkov’s because ours is based on the law and the European Convention on Human Rights,” he pointed out.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg will, in the next month, be considering the cases against Russia of the banning by Mayor Luzhkov of Moscow Gay Prides 2006, 2007 and 2008, along with other bans affecting the capital’s gay community.

Mr. Alexeyev pointed out that the Strasbourg Court has given Russia until February 20, to justify its position on the bans.

And he added that when he was in London in 2007 attending an “M4” meeting with the mayors of Berlin, London and Paris, Mayor Luzhkov promised to respect the decision of the court.

There are some doubts that the decision of the European court of Human Rights will be announced in time to put Luzhkov to the test following his 2007 promise for this coming May’s Moscow Pride.

Mr. Alexeyev confirmed that as far as organisers are concerned, Moscow Pride will go ahead as planned on May 29. He added that a number of well-known politicians and activists from Europe and the USA had already indicated that they will be present.

Full Article on GayRussia

Alexeyev-Kostyukov

Russian gay community leader Nikolai Alexeyev waves a flag during a banned gay rally in Moscow in 2008. (AFP/Dmitry Kostyukov)

Friday Oct 2, 2009 – MOSCOW (AFP) – A Russian court on Friday dismissed a long-shot libel suit filed by gay activists against Moscow’s veteran mayor in a ruling that they described as a blow to human dignity in Russia.

The suit had been filed after Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, speaking on television in June, called Russian gay activists seeking to organize a gay pride parade “gomiki,” a derogatory word that can be translated as “homos.”

“Our society has healthy morals and does not accept all these homos,” Luzhkov told TV Centre, a channel owned by his administration, according to the website GayRussia.ru, whose activists filed the libel suit.

A spokeswoman for Moscow’s Tverskoi court said the hearing had taken place Friday and the libel suit had been dismissed for lack of evidence.

“The court has refused to sustain the plaintiff’s claim,” said spokeswoman Alexandra Berezina.

Had he lost the suit, Luzhkov would have had to pay one kopeck, a Russian coin of the smallest denomination, as symbolic compensation to the gay activists.

Nikolai Alexeyev, Russia’s leading gay activist and an organiser of the gay pride parade, said he would appeal the court decision, adding that activists had not expected any other ruling in the run-up to local elections later this month.

“This is the de-facto legalization of discourtesy, offence, disparagement of human dignity,” Alexeyev said of the ruling.

“It means we live in a state where human dignity means nothing,” he told AFP.

Luzhkov has repeatedly banned gay pride parades, calling them “satanic acts” but arguing that he wanted to protect homosexuals in a society where homophobic sentiments run high.

Source

gaybielo

Gay Russia and Gay Belarus to host largest Ever Gay Human Rights Conference in Belarus.

The event will take place on September 26 in Minsk.

MINSK, September 25, 2009 – Almost 100 participants are expected to take part in a gay human rights conference in the Belarus capital tomorrow (September 26).

Over 30 NGOs and LGBT groups have registered to speak at the one-day event. And this has caused a problem for the organisers in finding a room large enough.

“It is challenging, but not impossible, to organize a human rights conference in Belarus,” one of the organisers commented. “But, when it turns to be a LGBT rights conference, then, no one is ready to rent you a place anymore.”

For months, the organisers attempted to book different venues. But their requests were always turned down. Finally, they managed to find a venue, but are not yet disclosing where – even to the delegates.

Sergey Androsenko, a conference co-organiser and leader of the local advocacy group GayBelarus, said that many do not really know what are the demands and the challenges face by the LGBT community.

“We cannot let them think any longer that gays are boys dressed like girls just because they saw one singer in woman’s clothes on TV. We have to be visible, so that people hear us and see us as we are really.”

Thirty years ago, Harvey Milk expressed the same view:“We are coming out to fight the lies”.

Tomorrow’s event has been made possible as a joint project, funded and supported by the LGBT Human Rights Project GayRussia.Ru.

It will be held under the patronage of the IDAHO Committee – the Committee of the International Day Against Homophobia.

This is not the first event held by the IDAHO in Eastern Europe. In May 2006, the IDAHO Committee supported the First Moscow Pride Festival, an event that marked a breakthrough after 12 years of silence of the LGBT community in Russia.

Louis-Georges Tin, the President of the IDAHO Committee sees in the conference as “a step that will help local activists to raise awareness for their struggle”.

“It is our duty to help and support activists especially when they ask for our help. It is a unique chance for LGBT activists to discuss and express their demands,” said Mr Tin.

The conference will show reports from different activists and the plan is to strengthen discussion between the LGBT movements and other Human Rights NGOs. This is why the subject of the conference is LGBT Movement and NGOs: Prospect for Cooperation to Overcome Homophobia in Belarus.

The conference is also supported by Hamburg Pride and the Swedish Embassy.

Attending will be mainly Belarus people, but activists from Russia, Germany, France, Switzerland and Sweden are travelling to Minsk to show their support – and share their experiences.

“We are here to facilitate the dialogue between human rights groups and the LGBT movement,” said Alekseev of GayRussia and chief organiser of the Moscow Pride. “We are happy to bring our support and knowledge in organizing such large scale event.

“In less than a year during which we were actively working with our Belarusian colleagues, we have helped them to get more visibility at the international level,” Mr Alekseev added.

Russian and Belarusian LGBT movements ‘twined’ last November and associated their efforts in their joint struggle. The conference is one more step after the first Slavic Pride that they organised last May in Moscow – and the next one that is planned in Minsk in 2010.

The Embassies of three European Union countries – Sweden, Hungary and France – as well as the European Commission’s delegation in Minsk have said they will participate.

The presence of the EU diplomacy is seen as key by the organisers. “Firstly, we want them to monitor any attempt to disrupt the event, and secondly, we want to ensure that LGBT rights will not be forgotten in the human rights dialogue that the EU holds with Belarus,” said Mr Androsenko.

“The LGBT movement in Belarus is just being built. We want to show that we exist and we want to have our place in the human rights discussions in the country.

“For too long, we have been left aside. This is now going to be past,” he added.

GayRussia.Ru

See Also: ILGA Europe

LAST MINUTE:

40 Arrested as Moscow Anti-Riot Police Use Violence to Break up Slavic Pride March
By Peter Tatchell

Pride organisers call on performers to boycott Eurovision

Moscow – 16th May

Sources from Moscow have reported that police have used violent and oppressive tactics to break up the peaceful Slavic Pride march in the city.

The march had been outlawed by Moscow city authorities, but permission had been given for counter-demonstrations by far right ultra-nationalists.

40 Arrested as Moscow Anti-Riot Police Use Violence to Break up Slavic Pride March – Pride Organisers Call on Performers to Boycott EurovisionBetween 35 and 40 Russian LGBT activists have been arrested, including British human rights activist Peter Tatchell and Chicago LGBT activist Andy Thayer. Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev was held down by 5 fully armed riot police and arrested.

European Embassy diplomats witnessed the violence are said to be planning a joint diplomatic action.

Slavic Pride organisers have called on the artists and performers of Eurovision to boycott tonight’s showpiece event in solidarity with the beaten and arrested protesters.

Organiser Nikolai Alekseev said:

“I call upon all of the artists who are due to perform at tonight’s Eurovision to boycott tonight’s event and send a message that Russia’s state oppression of human rights is not acceptable.

“The Russian Government is using this years Eurovision in Moscow as a gala showpiece to show the world how far the country has improved since the early 1990’s. However, what was witnessed this afternoon on the streets of Moscow shows the world just how little Russia has travelled when it comes to supporting fundamental human rights.

“The police brutality that we witnessed here this afternoon is shocking. We planned a peaceful march to highlight the dire state of LGBT rights in Russia today. The police, given violent legitimacy by the openly homophobic Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, did not hold back with their weapons, despite the world’s media watching.

“We were defending the often violated human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russians. We demand the same legal protection against discrimination and hate crimes that none LGBT people enjoy.

“This episode has shamed the Russian Government and Moscow authorities before the world.”

You can follow Peter on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PeterTatchell or join the Peter Tatchell Human Rights Campaign Facebook group at http://tinyurl.com/cj9y6s

UPDATE 13:26 (Paris):

Xsenia is arrested together with 31 other activists. Russian and Belarusian have been put in different cells.

Nikolai Alekseev has been put in a separate place. There is no report about him. Apparently, his phone was confiscated and he is not reachable.
Police is making protocols with the arrested people.
Tatchell was released but NOT Andy Thayer from GLN, Chicago.
No one else released.

One activist has already been sent to the Court to be judged.

Alexeyev ArrestedNikolai Alekseev arrested

UPDATE Sunday 12:30 (Moscow):

All activists detained by the police at yesterday’s Slavic Gay Pride have been released.

13:30:  Slovenia, the country which is currently chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (which Russia is a member of), is expressing concern over the violent break up of the Slavic Gay Pride parade in Moscow on Saturday, the Slovenia news agency STA is reporting.

Slovenia took over the chairmanship just five days ago.

More informations UK Gay News:

http://ukgaynews.org.uk/Moscow_Eurovision_Latest.htm

See Also:

Threats Mount Against Gay Pride in Moscow

By Andy Thayer, Gay Liberation Network

02._moskovskij_komsololetsMoskovskij Komsololets article about first equal marriage action in Russia © Gay Liberation Network

Original Article on Chicago Indymedia by Andy Thayer

Moscow – 15th May
One Day Before Slavic Pride

A front page headline in Moskovskij Komsololets, one of Moscow’s major dailies, on Wednesday read “Lesbians Came to Marriage Registration Bureau Before Gay Pride,” with a sub-headline of “In Moscow, rise in publicity about gay pride.”

A few pages inside, another article countered with a headline of “Homosexualism ‘Weakens Power of Fist’: Activists Against Gay Pride Threaten Violence.”

The second article told of a press conference by fascists in which they promised that 1000 of them will protest against gay pride this Saturday and would physically attack it if possible. In previous years they violently attacked gay pride participants, sending German European Parliament member Volkhart Beck to the hospital in 2006, doing the same to veteran British gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell in 2007. This year the Pride event has been banned once again, with the Moscow police chief threatening to arrest all of the participants.

On Thursday a reporter for Moskovskij Komsololets told gay organizers that police had told them that they would arrest lead Moscow organizer Nikolai Alekyeev today, attempting to decapitate the leadership of our “Slavic Pride” action on Saturday.

03._nikolai_alekseev_l_confers_with_other_activistsNikolai Alekseev confers with fellow activists © Gay Liberation Network

Fortunately, Alexyeev and his colleagues anticipated the government’s action, and the last place you will find him and any of the other key organizers is at their flats or workplaces. All likely means of tracing their locations have been disabled, thus far forestalling pre-emptive government repression against tomorrow’s Slavic Pride action. “Security culture” has been carefully and calmly organized, with all of us sequestered at a safe location while we hold a two-day conference and training session for tomorrow’s pride action amidst the high-profile “Eurovision” song contest.

04._going_to_the_conferenceWalking to the conference © Gay Liberation Network

05._strategy_session1Strategy session © Gay Liberation Network

The first day of the conference featured political discussions about Slavic Pride — why we are doing the action and how it came to be. Several speakers noted that in each country there is a basic political division among gay organizers between those who see the need to take action against the political repression of gay rights organizing, versus those who say that it is enough to simply allow “gay culture” – clubs, coffee houses and the like — to proliferate, and that this alone would be sufficient change. “The gay movement in Belorussia is also separated into separate blocs, some [who] are in favor of action, others [who] are not,” said Belorussia leader Sergey Androsenko.

06._belosrussian_activists_practice2Belorussian activists practice for Saturday’s action © Gay Liberation Network

In the United States, this same debate is mirrored between those who say that we need to organize actions against things like Proposition 08 and proactively organize sit-ins and the like, versus those who say that gay marriage is “inevitable,” with the implication being that all we have to do is wait, or passively support politicians who will bring the change for us.

“You can’t change the community by closed situations, only [the] open fight for your rights can change [the] situation in society,” said Alekseev. “If you aren’t open, your relatives, the media doesn’t know, they need live examples.” Tatchell, noting the enormous progress that LGBT people in Britain have made over the past few decades, explained that how they got there was by “Doing many direct action protests and like Slavic pride, getting lots of publicity which raised public awareness, provoked public debate and put pressure on the authorities. So the tactics that you are using here today in Moscow are similar to the ones we used successfully in Britain — direct action and public protest get results.”

Those in the “change is evitable ” camp fail to understand that history does not always move forward, unerring moving towards greater rights. In my greetings to the conference from Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network, I noted that the economic crisis gripping the world poses additional challenges for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) rights organizers. Far right organizers, such as those we likely will encounter tomorrow, are dangerous enough during “normal” times. When large numbers of people are losing their jobs and savings, history has shown that fascist organizers can gain many more adherents and greatly increase the threats they pose to sexual, national and religious minorities. Organizing bold pro-equality counter-messages becomes that much more important.

Doing so amidst state repression and limited openings for democratic organizing of any kind is a real trick. “We want to minimize the negative consequences” to the Pride participants, said Alekseev. Today’s part of the conference will be aimed at carefully organizing and training ourselves for tomorrow’s action so that we get “maximum exposure of mass media and=2 0minimum consequences to the participants.”

Some of that was already achieved by the action of two lesbians at the Moscow equivalent of a marriage license bureau. While a press conference by the fascists the same day was relatively downplayed, the marriage license bureau action, “the first attempt at homosexual marriage in Russia” had “about 40 [still] cameras and 30 TV cameras,” said Alekseev.

Moscow organizers noted that the numbers of fascist counter-protesters have diminished at each of the previous three Pride events in the city, with 1000 violently attacking the event in 2006, two hundred attacking in 2007, and only about 50 counter-protesting last year. What effect the economic crisis and the government’s heightened belligerence will have on tomorrow’s Pride event is anyone’s guess.

Regardless, veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell in his greetings on behalf of Britain’s OutRage! direct action group, aptly saluted the bravery of tomorrow’s Pride participants, most of who appear to be in their early 20s. “We had police harassment [in Britain], but nothing on the scale that you have experienced here and in Belorussia. And so all my comrades in OutRage! want to say to you, we send you our solidarity, we salute your courage, and we together are part of a world movement that will win queer freedom.”

Already some progress has been made. Gay rights organizing in Russia did not begin with the Moscow 2006 Pride action. In 1986, Vladmir Ortanov founded Russia’s first gay newspaper and in 1991 Russia saw its first Pride festival in St. Petersbu rg, even though homosexuality was still illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison. Even though young people are the overwhelming majority at today’s conference, veterans like Ortanov shared their history so that the younger activists could see how tomorrow’s action fits into the larger picture of struggle for gay rights and democracy in Russia.

07._vladmir_ortanovVeteran Russian gay activist Vladmir Ortanov © Gay Liberation Network

“We are on an historical mission, it is a huge responsibility,” said Alekseev. “The evolution of LGBT rights in Russia will depend on what happens on 16 May.”

Despite threats of arrest and physical attacks by fascists, Slavic Gay Pride will take place at 1 PM tomorrow (Saturday) at a soon-to-be-disclosed location in downtown Moscow.

The eyes of much of the world’s media are already on Moscow covering the finals of the Eurovision Festival. President Medvedev, Prime Minister Putin and Mayor Luzhkov will have the choice of either confirming the world’s worst suspicions about Russian “democracy” by arresting the participants, or they can step away from that abyss by allowing LGBT people to assemble without state repression.

PHOTO CAPTIONS

This article and the photos referenced below are in the public domain. However, please credit them to Andy Thayer / Gay Liberation Network
Photos are available at the following URL:
More photos and the first story in this series can be found at:

Update by Nikolai Alekseev

Like in the previous years, GayRussia twins with UKGayNews.Org.Uk
Live coverage can be followed at the following page :
Info will be updated as available during the day.
www.gayrussia.ru/en will not be updated in English today.
Photos will most likely first appear from Reuters, AP and AFP at Yahoo!
Tonight, if possible before the Eurovision Song Contest, Peter Tatchell and Andy Thayer will broadcast a program on www.gay-radio.ru over the internet, in English, to give their impression of the event and explain how it was. Exact time and link to access the program will be sent on these lists in the afternoon.

See Also:

Nikolai Alexeyev Arrested 2007Russian police officers arrest Nikolai Alexeyev in Moscow, 27 May 2007. Russian police arrested Russian gay rights activists and a leading British campaigner Peter Tatchell as they demonstrated outside the Moscow mayor’s office.
(Photo credit:  AFP Photo Maxim Marmur, Getty Images)

Slavic Pride Update From the LGBT Moscow Wires

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov Refuses to Speak to Organisers

Three arrested but organisers vow to march regardless of threats

Moscow – 15 May 2009 by Peter Tatchell

Various senior Russian sources are reporting that Moscow police are today attempting to arrest Nikolai Alekseev and other key Slavic Pride coordinators, and are also attempting to track down and arrest British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell in order to prevent Slavic Pride going ahead.

Mr. Alekseev, Mr. Tatchell and others have been transferred to a secure location. In case of arrest, several contingency plans have been prepared so that the Slavic Pride march will not unravel should the police catch the main coordinators, adding to the number of campaigners already arrested.

The Embassies of UK, France, Switzerland, Holland, Germany and the USA have all been notified of the plans and the risk that some of their nationals could be arrested and detained tomorrow and could require consular assistance.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov pointedly refused to speak to organisers or acknowledge the offer of compromise.

However, commenting on the increased number of Russians who are planning to attend this years Pride march, Slavic Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev said

“We are glad to see that this year this event is organised, led and populated by local Russians and Moscowvites. After years of silent oppression, we are finally creating a generation of LGBT activists that are becoming bolder and are ready to step up to demand equal rights.

“The presence and solidarity shown by British human rights activist Peter Tatchell and Chicago LGBT activist Andy Thayer here in Moscow sets a good example for the local people who have braved the violent threats and taunts from Moscow Mayor Luzhkov and police chief Vladmir Pronin.”

Meanwhile, in the run up to Saturday’s march, Peter Tatchell was awarded the International Award of Slavic Pride for his active support of Slavic LGBT campaigns. Mr. Tatchell was selected by a jury that included notable human rights campaigners Sophie Int Veld, Volker Beck, Bertrand Delanoe and Louis Georges Tin.

Vladimir Ivanov, the film director who produced ‘Moscow Pride 06’, a documentary about the violent repression of the 2006 demonstration that was premiered at the Berlin film festival in 2007, was awarded the International Award of Russian Pride. As well as a film director, Mr. Ivanov has been one of the main organisers of Russian LGBT public campaigns over several years.

Additional

Diplomatic sources report that the Moscow Embassies of the people involved in Slavic Pride are concerned about people who are arriving in Moscow to attend the Eurovision celebrations and join the Pride march being beaten or arrested. They are monitoring the situation and, if necessary, it is reported that they are planning to make a joint diplomatic announcement later.

See Also:

Tatchell Moscow 2007

Peter Tatchell Moscow 2007

Moscow mayor – Gay activists seek meeting

Dialogue urged to resolve dispute over gay parade

Tatchell allowed into Russia. Arrived this morning

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 :

See Also: