Nicolas Alexeyev has welcomed comments from Mayor of London Ken Livingstone indicating he might be willing to attend next year’s event.

The Russian gay rights activist was one of the principal organisers of this year’s banned gay rights march in Moscow.

In an exclusive interview with PinkNews.co.uk to mark London Pride, Mr Livingstone said he would consider attending Moscow Pride in 2008, if it does not clash with his campaign to for re-election.

Mr Alexeyev warmly welcomed the Mayor of London’s comments.

“In the name of the Organisational Committee of Moscow Pride I would like to express my delight that London’s mayor is ready to attend our third Pride celebrations in the Russian capital,” he told PinkNews.co.uk

“The next Moscow Pride is already scheduled for Saturday 31st May 2008, well after the London Mayor and Assembly elections due to be held on 1st May 2008.

“On this date the Russian LGBT community will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Russia.”

Mr Alexeyev said that if Mr Livingstone does come to Moscow it will be a huge boost to gay rights activists in Russia.

“The participation of Mr. Livingstone in Pride would have a huge impact on the future development of LGBT movement in Russia and success of the Pride celebrations.

“We hope that London Mayor will attend the International Human Rights conference being held as part of Moscow Pride and publicly march on the streets of our capital city.”

Relations between the two men have not always been so cordial.

In May, at a meeting of the M4 meeting of European mayors, Mr Alexeyev was angry that Mr Livingstone did not tackle the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, over his banning of gay marches and comments that homosexuals are Satanic.

Mr Livingstone told PinkNews.co.uk:

“When you’ve got the mayors of Paris and Berlin there, who are gay, you really can’t outdo them.

“And I thought they handled it very well.

“The most important thing about that press conference was that everyone saw it and what they saw was the mayors of two of the greatest cities in Europe, openly gay, and here’s the Mayor of Moscow doing this appalling number.”

Mr Alexeyev told PinkNews.co.uk:

“Even though we had a few misunderstandings with Mr. Livingstone last February during the M4 meeting in London, I will do all my best to welcome London Mayor in Moscow at the end of May next year.

“At the same time we would like to wish Mr. Livingstone successful electoral campaign and re-election as London Mayor on 1 May 2008.”

Mr Alexeyev was arrested for his part in an attempt to present a letter of protest the office of the Mayor of Moscow on the day the banned Pride march was due to take place in May.

A small group of gay activists were blocked by police, and several, including Peter Tatchell, were physically assaulted by a homophobic gang of counter-protesters.