The organisers of Moscow Pride have vowed to hold the event in 2007, as they formally start proceedings at the European Court of Human Rights concerning last year’s Pride.

They are also considering appealing to the Russian Supreme Court in parallel with their European action.

In May 2006 the first Pride march in the city was beset by violence and police intimidation after Moscow’s mayor refused to grant a permit.

Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said today that he will never allow a gay parade to take place in Moscow, and called gay people “Satanic.”

Moscow Pride organiser Nicolas Alexeyev said that the May event will definitely be going ahead, and that an application for a parade will be made in accordance with Russian law.

Mr Alexeyev told PinkNews.co.uk:

“It is about the future, in which the rights of homosexual people will be acknowledged and respected and where they will not be second class citizens without fundamental rights.”

Moscow Pride 2007 will take place on Sunday May 27, marking the day in 1993 when homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia.

Last year over 120 people, including a German MP, were arrested during the chaotic scenes as gay campaigners from all over the world converged in the Russian capital.

They were met by religious and nationalist protesters chanting anti-gay slogans and 1,000 riot police with orders to stop demonstrations in Red Square.

Arrests were made after a group of activists, including Mr Alexeyev, attempted to lay flowers at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a war memorial, equating the struggle for gay rights with fighting fascism.

Eyewitnesses said gay activists were beaten by protesters.

The 20-page application to the European Court of Human Rights concerns two seperate issues: the ban by Moscow authorities of the gay pride march and the banning of the alternative Pride picket, both scheduled for May 27, 2006.

In the application, Pride organisers claim that in denying permission to stage both the march and the picket, the Russian Federation breached Article 11 (right to freedom of peaceful assembly), Article 13 (right to effective court protection) and Article 14 (discrimination ban) in conjunction with Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Russia is a signatory.

The application sent to Strasbourg today explains the legal position of the organisers, and asks the court to rule that the decisions of Russian authorities to ban the march and the picket contradict both Russian legislation and the European Convention.

Organisers of Moscow Pride have given the court a range of evidence that suggests the real reason behind the ban is the personal homophobia of mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

Organisers of the Pride want the European Court to find that the Russian Federation breached their rights and are asking for 20,000 euros (£13,000) in compensation.

“In trying to silence us, the Russian authorities denied us one of the fundamental human rights. European justice will have the last say in this case,” said Mr Alexeyev.

“After that not a single official, including the Moscow Mayor, will be able to deprive us of our legal right to freedom of public expression.”

The events of first Moscow gay pride are the subject of a documentary film by Vladimir Ivanov, MOCKBA. PRIDE ’06.

The world premiere will take place on February 11th at the Berlin Film Festival.

The film will be shown in London in March as part of the GAHLA film festival.