One of the few openly gay pop stars in Russia has criticised the organisers of Moscow Pride for being too persistent.

Performer Boris Moiseyev said gays should not insist on acceptance if society is opposed.

The singer, who added that “civilised society should protect everyone, both homosexuals and lesbians,” has been targeted by homophobic protests.

Last month Russian Vanguard, an ultra-religious monarchist group, picketed a Moiseyev concert in Kaliningrad because he is openly gay.

The extreme nationalist group said it would not target the singer’s fans, as not all of them are gay, but restated its demands that gay sex acts be punished by law.

Homosexuality was legalised in Russia in 1993 and since 1999 it is no longer included on the list of mental illnesses.

Religious Russians have been at the vanguard of the fight against gay rights in the country.

In past years the Mayor of Moscow has refused to allow gay pride marches, referring to them as “Satanic.”

There was violence in 2007 when homophobic protesters attacked gay rights activists trying to protest against the ban.

This year Pride organisers applied for dozens of permits to march, all of which were refused.

Last weekend they managed to outwit the police and protesters by holding two short impromptu demonstrations outside City Hall and a statue of Tchaikovsky.

Protesters and police were unable to stop the demonstrations, though four gay activists were arrested after a stand off at an apartment block opposite City Hall where they had unfurled a banner.

They have now been released but face charges.

Moscow Pride organiser Nicolas Alexeyev commented:

“Boris Moiseyev is known as very close to (former President and current Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir) Putin and the Kremlin. He received an award from Putin. He is used as “an excuse” by the power.

“His shows are not exactly what we need to show to the Russian society who are the gays and lesbians.

“Dressed in women’s clothes, he really does not give a positive image of gays and lesbians.

“The shows of Moiseyev are often targeted by anti gay protesters and religious groups who come to protest in front of the hall where he performs, so, “If society doesn’t accept him as a gay singer, he should not insist.”"