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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Update: Has Moscow Pride finally won government approval? Not yet

Photo of the Moscow Pride on June 1, 2009, sho...Image via Wikipedia
By Paul Canning have issued a statement acknowledging that Moscow Pride has not been approved by Moscow authorities.

Following an earlier press statement by them, media outlets reported the supposed approval. However, as we republished yesterday UK Gay News had noted a report from Interfax-Religion which said that no permission has been granted.

The new statement says that Lyudmila Shvetsova, the deputy Mayor of Moscow, is still considering the application, which was submitted April 12.

It says that she told Interfax:
"Their appeal has been addressed to me. Work is being done in line with a procedure existing in the Moscow city administration. We are studying these proposals, and they will receive an answer within due time. I have not given any answers yet".
The statement says that for the event to go ahead it needs a green light both from both the city hall and the Regional Security department.

It says that Interfax has quoted a "voice" from the department saying that "they [the organizers] have not received permission. And they are not likely to get it, even under the guise of a cultural and educational action."

Nikolai Alekseev, Moscow Pride Chief Organizer, said:
"Welcome to Russian politics. I would not be surprised that the City Hall used this trick to tell us that our application was approved in order to check the reaction of the public opinion prior to make up their mind. Well, the good news is that there was no harsh and violent reaction. No one went in the streets to protest. Moscow is not burning today. We can simply see that no one cares. Discussion whether the Pride can or cannot be allowed is nonsense as Russia has no longer any legal basis to forbid it."
However he wrote on his Facebook page that "I think the final dot will come pretty soon..."

Last month Russia lost its appeal against a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) finding for the Moscow Pride organisers in their long fight against the ban on the event. Alekseev said that the organisers have written to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe asking for the support of the organization in implementing the ECHR decision.

Moscow Pride Co-Organizer Nikolai Baev said:
"After this Court decision that we won against Russia in the banning of our Prides, the Council of Europe must stand firm on our side in helping us to have the decision implemented for this year. We feel lonely.."

"Russia will not show itself as a democratic state only by letting the Pride go or not, but that being said, President Medvedev has a unique chance in his hands to give a signal which will be watched and discussed beyond Kremlin," said Alekseev.
The Moscow Pride organisers said that if the event is banned, despite the ECHR's decision, they will organize an event next year on March 13 to collide with the Russian Presidential elections.
"As one of the last discriminated social group in Russia on the issue of freedom of assembly, there is no better forum than the Presidential election to raise this issue" said Nikolai Alekseev.

They suggest that the 2012 timing will attract media attention which "might not please Kremlin".
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