Top European Mayors Invited to May’s Moscow Gay Pride


Organisers accuse Luzhkov of double standards after nudity at St. Patrick's Day parade




■ Gay Pride parades in Moscow have been banned.  But the St. Patrick's Day Parade down Novyi Arbat Street, complete with nudity, is permitted.
photo courtesy

MOSCOW, March 20, 2008 (  –  Three of Europe’s leading mayors, two of them openly gay, have been invited to attend this year’s Moscow Pride, organisers said this morning, days after a controversial St. Patrick’s Day Parade which included nudity.

Mayors Bertrand Delanoë (Paris), Ken Livingstone (London) and Klaus Wowereit (Berlin) have all been invited to the Gay Pride and associated conference being held in the Russian capital on May 30 and 31.

In a letter to the three Mayors, Nikolai Baev and Nikolai Alekseev point out that in Russia gay men and women face enormous difficulties in publicly expressing themselves.

“You always support the fundamental right of homosexual people to openly manifest and to publicly express themselves,” they say in their letter to the city halls.

“All of you also regularly take part in Gay Pride parades in your own cities.”

They go on to say that the constitutional right to freedom of assembly has been violated in the previous two years when Gay Pride Parades have been scheduled, only to be banned by Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

“Taking into account the bans of the public Pride events in the Russian capital in 2006 and 2007, we are not sure that Mayor Luzhkov will permit Gay Pride manifestation this year,” they point out.

“Please take part in our conference and rally,” the organisers ask.

Politicians from across Europe are again expected at the third Moscow Gay Pride.  But the organising committee consider that the attendance of the three prominent mayors would have a great symbolic influence.

Prior to banning last year’s march, Mayor Luzhkov described Gay Pride as “a satanic gathering”.  However, he allowed a St. Patrick’s Day Parade last Sunday, even closing Novyi Arbat street in central Moscow for half a day.

There were scenes of indecency during the annual Moscow St. Patrick’s Day Parade as a handful of males showed watching Muscovites exactly was the Irish wear – or don’t wear, to be more accurate – under their kilts.

“Who will talk after that about religious feelings, morality, breaches of others rights,” Mr. Alekseev told UK Gay News.

And writing a commentary on the Gay website, Mr Alekseev observed: “Anything similar cannot be seen even during Gay Parades in the most liberal democratic countries.  At least I was on many similar measures and nowhere it saw such frank nudity.

When the discussion turns to the human rights procession in the support of tolerance and the rights ofgay men and women, where the people want to express their civic stand and to require the observance of their rights, the mayor immediately talks about the morals, about the insult of religious feelings of citizens, about anything, as he denies permission under any pretext.



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Posted: 20 March 2008 at 08:30 (UK time)




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