Archive for the ‘Yuri Luzhkov’ Category

“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

Slavic Pride: Thank you Mayor Luzhkov by Peter Tatchell© Reuters – Denis Sinyakov

Thank you Mayor Luzhkov

Moscow’s mayor tried to crush the city’s gay pride parade. In so doing, he did the cause of gay rights in Russia a huge service.

By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

The Guardian – Comment is Free – London – 19 May 2009

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/19/russia-gay-pride-luzhkov

Russian gay rights campaigners are toasting Moscow’s homophobic mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, after he ordered the banning and violent suppression of last Saturday’s Slavic gay pride parade in the Russian capital – just hours before the Eurovision song contest was staged in the city.

“Luzhkov has done more than anyone to publicise gay rights in Russia,” beamed Nikolai Alekseev, the gay parade organiser, as we chatted on Sunday afternoon following his release from nearly 24 hours of police detention:

By stopping the gay parade he has provoked massive media coverage of our fight against homophobia. The Russian media has been full of reports about gay issues for the last week. This has hugely increased public awareness and understanding of gay people.

Slowly, we are eroding homophobic attitudes. Through this media visibility, we are helping to normalise queer existence. After our successive gay protests in Moscow since 2006, people are less shocked about homosexuality. We have a long way to go, but gradually we are winning hearts and minds, especially among younger Russians.

We ought to give Luzhkov an award. His violation of our right to protest has given us a remarkable platform, with day-after-day of publicity about lesbian gay human rights. It is the equivalent of about 200m roubles (£4m pounds) in free advertising.

After spending five days in Moscow, helping prepare for the parade and then participating in the brutally curtailed protest, I am awestruck by the masterful strategy and tactics of the organisers.

They had previously tried writing letters and seeking meetings with the Russian government in a bid to get action against the homophobic discrimination, harassment and violence that is widespread in Russian society. Every approach has been rebuffed. Both the federal and city authorities have refused to meet representatives of Russia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. They will not introduce laws to tackle anti-gay violence and to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Faced with this intransigent refusal to engage in dialogue or legislate, what are Russian queers to do? Stay silent? Do nothing?

The gay parade organisers realise that the conferences, glossy reports and low-key vigils of other Russian and international gay organisations have little or no impact on the government – or on public consciousness.

It is only visible and challenging actions, like the gay parades, that put queer issues on the public and political agenda.

The same has been true all throughout history. It has been direct action by radical campaigners like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King that has most dramatically and effectively overturned injustice.

By adapting their tactics, the Slavic Pride coordinators ran rings around the Russian and Moscow authorities and put them on the defensive.

“Luzhkov walked into our trap. We offered to meet him last week to work out an amicable solution. He refused. His refusal and the subsequent police repression of the parade gave us masses of publicity and made him look aggressive and tyrannical,” said Alekseev.

As well as being full of admiration for the organisers’ tactical savvy, I was also immensely impressed by their ingenuity in outwitting the Moscow police and the Federal Security Service (the successor to the Soviet-era secret police, the KGB).

Moscow’s gay parade was planned like a military operation and executed with more than a whiff of James Bond-style daring and evasion. The authorities were determined to stop the protest before it happened. They put activists under surveillance and planned to pre-emptively arrest Alekseev. To prevent this, he went into hiding a few days before, moving from house to house, switching cars and trains and changing mobile phones.

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Moscow+Police+Spying+On+Gay+Groups-a01611814149

Over 60 gay activists joined the parade, with others acting as logistical support, arranging transport, accommodation, food and security. They came from far-flung regions of Russia, plus a 15-strong delegation from Belarus. Most were in their early 20s. There were a few older veterans from the underground Russian gay rights movement in the 1980s, including a member of the Academy of Sciences and a nuclear physicist. Their bravery and fearlessness was totally inspiring. All of them were ready to risk being arrested, beaten, jailed, sacked from their jobs and evicted from their apartments.

On the day of the parade, we converged on the protest location – the gardens in front of Moscow State University. To fool the riot police, we arrived in limousines, disguised as a wedding party, complete with bride and groom (Alekseev).

There were three successive protests, one after the other. First, the Belarusians kicked off with chants against homophobia, which is when I was arrested for holding a placard with “gay rights” written on it in Russian and English. After we were dragged off, another group unfurled a 25-foot banner: “Gay Equality. No compromise.” Then, finally, Alekseev and his “bride” were bundled into a police van. Several people were arrested for simply speaking to the media. Nearly all those detained – including myself – report being arrested with excessive force.

http://www.gayrussia.ru/en/news/detail.php?ID=13465

All in all, it was a PR disaster for the Russian and Moscow authorities, ensuring that Eurovision 2009 will be forever associated with police brutality, government homophobia and the suppression of a peaceful protest.

It is good to know that Russian gay campaigners are having the last laugh. In March, the then Moscow police chief, Vladmir Pronin, had promised there would no protests at all. No gay demos would be allowed to mar Eurovision. He boasted of “tough measures” and that protesters would be “torn to shreds.” No person would be brave enough to risk the wrath of his riot police, Pronin warned.

https://gayswithoutborders.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/moscow-police-chief-says-gay-pride-is-unacceptable/

He was wrong. There was a gay protest. Gay people had the guts to defy his uniformed thugs. By so doing, they not only defended gay human rights, they defended the right to protest of all Russians, gay and straight.

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

Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
www.greenoxford.com/peter and www.petertatchell.net

Gays Without Borders

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Lesbians to attempt first gay marriage in Russia

irina-fet

Photo: Irina Fet (Fyet)

By Amie Ferris-Rotman

Official application expected on 12 May

A lesbian couple will try to defy deep-rooted Russian homophobia next week in the first attempt at a gay marriage even though rights activists say it will be rejected outright.

Public relations worker Irina Fyet, 31, and her partner of the same age will apply for a marriage license at a register office on May 12 in Moscow, a city where mayor Yuri Luzhkov once described gay pride marches as “satanic.”

Gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseyev said it was the first time a gay couple would apply for a license.

“I am 99 percent sure there will be a refusal, but maybe later the situation in Russia can change, the political feeling can change,” he told Reuters on Wednesday.

The pair will most likely legally marry in the coming months in Toronto, or Norway, he added. Neither country requires residency for gay couples wishing to marry.

Activists say a loophole exists in Russian law which bans gay marriage at home but does not prevent the recognition of a same-sex marriage that has taken place abroad.

The Soviet Union banned homosexuality and any type of nudity on TV, and Russia did not decriminalize gay sex until 1993, two years after the USSR’s collapse.

Unlike other major European cities, Moscow has no gay-friendly district and the homosexual scene is still largely underground.

Despite the fact that one of Russia’s most popular musical groups abroad, Tatu, traded on their fictionalized lesbian image, same-sex couples are rarely seen being affectionate in public.

“They want to be able to live like other citizens, this is not (gay) propaganda,” Alekseyev said of Fyet and her partner.

His website http://www.gayrussia.ru quotes Fyet as saying “Our love is no different (than others).”

Gay pride parades, unheard of in the days of the Soviet Union, have been allowed in some cities in recent years but are generally met with public and political derision.

Three years ago, police, militant Orthodox Christians and neo-fascists attacked and violently broke up the first gay rights march in Moscow.

Next week’s Russian gay pride march will purposely coincide with Moscow’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest and competitors will be asked to back homosexual rights on stage.

The Russian Orthodox Church, resurgent since the fall of the Soviet Union, has helped turn public sentiment against gay pride events, which the then head of the church, Patriarch Alexey II, has called “propaganda for homosexuality.”

Reuters’ Full Article

eupicketbig3.jpg

Russian Judge Backs Another Gay Demo Ban: Organisers ready to go up to the European Court of Human Rights

A Moscow court has dismissed a complaint from the organisers of the picket in support of the EU visa ban for Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov for his violations of human rights and particularly the right to freedom of assembly.

The picket, organised by several organizations including LGBT Human Rights Project, GayRussia.Ru and movement LGBT Rights, was supposed to take place on 27th June, the day Mr. Luzhkov was being confirmed by the City’s Duma (parliament) for other term in office.

Organisers planned to picket the office of the representation of the European Commission in the Russian Federation and give the letter to EU authorities asking for the EU entrance ban for Luzhkov.

Organisers informed the prefercture of the Central Area of Moscow about the picket on 22nd June.

On 25th June the deputy prefect informed them that the prefecture has nothing against holding of the picket two days later.

On 27th June, right before the start of the picket, organisers were given another letter signed by deputy prefect dated 26th June in which the picketing was banned due to rebuilding works next to the office of the European Commission representative.

The prefecture said this created a threat to the security of the participants.

Around 25 activists showed up to take part in the picket with placards carrying the slogans “Luzhkov: Moscow – Strasbourg – The Hague” and “Europe, Ban Luzhkov’s EU entrance.”

Three of the participants, including the chief organiser Kirill Nepomnyaschiy, were arrested by the police and taken to the local police station. They were later released.

In their complaint to Taganski district court organisers maintained that prefecture breached the time limits set by the law for the consideration of the notifications and did not offer any alternative place or time of the event.

Organisers insisted that the ban on the picket was due to the information that appeared in the media after the authorisation that there are representatives of sexual minorities among the organisers and participants.

The representative of the prefecture said in court on Wednesday that prefecture did not ban the event but terminated it due to security reasons.

In which case they were not obliged to offer any alternative place.

Despite the fact that the second letter of the prefecture clearly bans the picket and not terminates it.

According to Russian law a public event can be terminated only after it already started.

Judge Mikhail Kazakov sided with the arguments of the prefecture and dismissed organiser’s complaint.

Moscow Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev, who was one of the organisers, of the picket, was in court yesterday.

“What is going on in Moscow courts is really becoming outrageous,” he said.

“There is not rule of law anymore because the law is being interpreted in the way that is suitable for the authorities.

“Yesterday’s decision is the outrageous proof of it. We are going to appeal the decision to Moscow City Court when it is ready in the final version and then we will send this case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.”

Next week the same judge, Mikhail Kazakov, will consider another ban on the picket against homophobia organised by gays in front of the office of the Fair Russia political party.

On 10th December the same judge will consider the ban of the picket against restrictions on blood donations by homosexuals which was supposed to take place next to the Health Ministry.

“Our application concerning the ban of the first Gay Pride in Moscow on 27th May 2006 is in Strasbourg since January and shortly we are going to send to the European Court the application concerning the ban of this year’s Gay Pride,” said Mr Alekseev.

www.gayrussia.ru