GayRussia.ru, which describes itself as “the leading LGBT human rights organisation in Russia,” has marked its third birthday.

“Access to media is key to make the society understand us and accept us,” said Nicolas Alexeyev, founder of GayRussia.ru and Moscow Pride organiser.

In a statement he outlined what he sees as the successes of the movement in the past three years.

“In 2007, former President Putin answered a question connected to the Moscow Pride,” Mr Alexeyev said.

“A first for a Russian president.

“While three years ago, the Russian tabloid papers mostly wrote about gays and lesbians.

“Today the situation has changed.

“After the launch of the Moscow Pride, TV, radio and main papers started to write about gays and lesbians.

“If the coverage is not only positive in a country were freedom of expression is a problem, the coverage is positive on average.

“No journalist attended our first press conference on May 17, 2005.

“Last year, our press conference before the second Moscow Pride welcomed around 100 journalists.  It was surprising but we managed to have more access to Russian media than the opposition parties.

“All public actions organised by GayRussia.Ru and forbidden by the Russian authorities have been appealed in Russian courts up and to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg where three cases are being considered.

“156 more cases will be started later this year.

“GayRussia also became the initiator and main organiser of Moscow Pride in 2005.

“This event opened the wall to LGBT actions in Russian traditional media.  The Moscow Prides in 2006 and 2007 generated a considerable attention of foreign media from all countries.”

Mr Alexeyev has become a well-know figure in the Russian media, with high-profile protests and legal actions and a knack for generating headlines.