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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 2, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 35
Moscow Pride mocks Russian authorities, applies for permits 100 years in advance
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Moscow Pride mocks Russian authorities, applies for permits 100 years in advance

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Saying they look forward to a 'Gay century,' organizers of Moscow Pride have applied for parade permits for the next 100 years - from 2012 through 2112.

They told Russia Today that their aim is to expose what they call the 'absurdity' of the laws used by Russian authorities to deny them permits for Pride events.

The legal loophole that activists are trying to exploit stipulates that applications to hold a demonstration should be filed with local authorities no less than 45 days before the event.

The law does not prohibit filing requests earlier, even 100 years earlier.

All the projected Pride events are to take place on Bolotnaya Square in central Moscow, on a small island in the Moskva River right next to the Kremlin.

Two dates have been chosen for Moscow Pride celebrations in 2012 - March 4, coinciding with the first round of presidential elections, and May 27, the anniversary of the ban on criminal prosecution against LGBT people in Russia.

From 2013 through 2112, Moscow Pride will be held on the Saturday closest to May 27.

Russian LGBT rights activists have been applying for permission to hold a parade in Moscow for several years without success. Former mayor Yury Luzhkov was an outspoken enemy of the LGBT community, on one occasion branding Moscow Pride 'satanic.'

When Sergei Sobyanin replaced Luzhkov in 2010, the LGBT community said they hoped for change. The new mayor, however, deemed Pride events 'unnecessary.'

The last attempted Moscow Pride was dispersed by police in Moscow on May 28. More than 60 people, including supporters of LGBT rights and their opponents, were detained.

In July 2011, Russia was forced to pay 30,000 euros in compensation to Moscow Pride organizers because of Moscow's decision to ban Pride marches.

The fine was issued by the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that the decision to repeatedly ban Pride parades in 2006, 2007, and 2008 was unlawful.

While not a member of the European Union, Russia is a member of the Council of Europe and a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Russian authorities have not yet responded to the request for 100 years' worth of permits.

Attorney and LGBT activist Nikolay Aleksev said that an official response can be expected within two weeks.

'I think they will try to look for ways to ban it without looking stupid,' Aleksev told Russian Times. 'But in this situation it would be really hard not to look stupid.'

'I'm really looking forward to such headlines as 'Moscow authorities ban Gay Pride parades for 100 years.' The entire world will be laughing at this, including the judges from the European Court. The Council of Europe will have to take steps to pressurize the Moscow authorities into allowing such an event to take place.'

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