Current Affairs

Proposal to outlaw homosexuality in Russia has “no support”

Tony Grew February 14, 2007
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The organiser of Moscow Pride has said that an attempt by a maverick deputy in the Russian parliament to re-instate Soviet-era sexuality laws is certain to fail.

Nikolai Alexeyev, who was arrested by police at last year’s banned Pride march, spoke to from Berlin, where a documentary about the event is being premiered.

Alexeyev, a lawyer, dismissed concerns that Russia may return to the situation where homosexuality was illegal.

Maverick independent Deputy Nikolay Kuryanovich brought forward legislation yesterday that would reinstate communist-era laws banning homosexuality entirely.

Mr Alexeyev said he was not worried about Mr Kuryanovich.

“There is absolutely no way for this bill to be passed now,” he said.

“We are not concerned about it. The bill will not get any support. This guy is only making his own PR and he has no backing from the governmental majority.

“Moreover, it is not possible to do what he proposes while Russia is a member of the Council of Europe.”

Mr Alexeyev explained that far from being in influential figure, Mr Kuryanovich is unlikely to even be in the Russian parliament, the Duma, after elections at the end of this year.

The politician’s publicity stunt was no doubt inspired by the controversy surrounding last year’s Pride march in Moscow.

As reported on, in May 2006 the city’s mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, refused to issue a permit for the Pride march.

Gay activists pressed on with Moscow Pride on 27th May, despite the ban, police arrests, and violence from neo-fascists, right-wing nationalists and Orthodox Christian fundamentalists.

Last month, Pride organisers lost their appeal at Moscow City Court against the ruling of a lower court that upheld the city’s ban on the event.

Their case is now before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

“The Russian government is already concerned because they are sure to lose the case,” said Mr Alexseyev.

Moscow Pride 2007 will take place on Sunday May 27, marking the day in 1993 when homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia. The city’s mayor has once again vowed to ban the march.

The Russian Federation reiterated on Monday that peaceful demonstrations in support of gay rights must be allowed to take place and can only be stopped when there is a danger of disorder which cannot be prevented by reasonable force.

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

The world premiere takes place today at the Berlin Film Festival. Mr Alexeyev told that the tickets are sold out.

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

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