16: Violence and arrests at 2009 Pride alongside Eurovision

Between 20 and 40 activists were arrested at Slavic Pride in Moscow by anti-riot police in the 2009 Moscow parade, which was held on the same day as the Eurovision song contest final also hosted in the country.

According to a statement released by Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev, violence was used to break up the peaceful march, which had been banned by Moscow authorities.

It was held to coincide with the Eurovision final which would be hosted by the city that night. Attempts to hold a Pride march in previous years had been met with violence.

Dutch singer Cor Gordon Heuckeroth said he would boycott the Eurovision Song Contest if Moscow police used violence against gay rights activists.

He told NOS radio: “If people of my kind are being discriminated against in such a way, I have nothing to expect from this Russia, and I will be on the first plane home.”

Gay activists and Eurovision fans were previously warned they may be met with violence that weekend in Moscow.

Among those arrested were British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, and Chicago campaigner Andy Thayer.

Nikolai Alekseev was allegedly held down by five armed riot officers and arrested.

In a statement, Alekseev called on artists due to perform at the Eurovision final to boycott the event to “send a message that Russia’s state oppression of human rights is not acceptable.”

He continued: “The Russian Government is using this years Eurovision in Moscow as a gala showpiece to show the world how far the country has improved since the early 1990′s.

“However, what was witnessed this afternoon on the streets of Moscow shows the world just how little Russia has travelled when it comes to supporting fundamental human rights.”

17: Orthodox priest who supported pro-LGBT Pussy Riot found stabbed to death

In August, a Russian orthodox priest who spoke out in support of jailed punk band Pussy Riot was killed.

Pavel Adelgeim, 75, was stabbed to death in his home near the Estonia border, in the city of Pskov.

A 27-year-old man, who police say was acquainted with the priest, was arrested in relation to the killing. He reportedly stabbed Adelgeim in the stomach, and then stabbed himself after being arrested.

He was then taken to hospital, where authorities waited to question him. Regional lawmaker Lev Shlosberg, the suspect is mentally ill, and had been staying with the priest over the time of his murder.

Speaking to the Dozhd TV channel, Shlosberg said: ”[He was] welcomed by Father Pavel and his wife Vera at their home upon a request from a Moscow woman they were familiar with,

“He is a mentally ill person, and maybe his acquaintances hoped Father Pavel’s word would cure his illness.”

The motive for the murder remains unclear.

Adelgeim spoke out in favour of Pussy Riot, the punk band who performed a controversial anti-Putin music performance at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, back in 2012.

He was also jailed during the Soviet rule, and was a well-known critic of the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.

18: Duma approves bill to criminalise insulting religious beliefs, following Pussy Riot protest

In the wake of a scandal caused by Pussy Riot, a law was passed in June by the State Duma to criminalise insulting people’s religious feelings.

The legislation makes insulting a person’s religious beliefs a criminal offence, punishable by up to three-years in prison.

The bill was passed by the State Duma with 308 votes to 2. The bill gathered the 226 votes necessary to be approved.

According to the bill, insulting the feelings of religious believers, including vandalism, or desecration of holy sites, would be punishable by compulsory labour, up to three years in prison, and/or fines of up to 500,000 rubles (£10,000).

In addition, obstructing the activities of a religious group, or the holding of a religious ceremony, would also be a criminal offence, punishable by a 300,000 (£6,000) ruble fine, and/or prison for up to three months, reported RIA Novosti.

If the law were to pass, and is broken by a state official, they would be sent to prison for up to one year, and would be banned from government posts for up to two years.

A Russian citizen publicly desecrating or destroying a religious object on purpose would face a fine of up to 200,000 rubles (£4,000)

The bill has seen strong support from conservative activist groups, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church.

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