Putin set to re-appoint Moscow mayor
The homophobic mayor of Moscow may be re-appointed in the next few days.
The 70-year-old politician, Yuri Luzhkov, has been mayor of the Russian capital since 1992.
Media speculation in the Russian papers suggests that Luzhkov is looking to get re-elected without any real opposition.
This confidential information was leaked to the press, possibly in an effort by Luzhkov to pressurise by President Vladimir Putin into re-appointing him.
According to a new Russian law, the heads of the regions (which includes Moscow) are elected by local parliaments, but candidates are appointed by the President.
Reports also suggest that Luzhkov wants to be re-appointed before Gay Pride in Moscow on May 27th. He banned the 2007 event on the grounds that it would cause violent protests.
Luzhkov banned Gay Pride 2006 and campaigners were met by religious and nationalist protesters chanting anti-gay slogans and over a thousand riot police aiming to stop demonstrations in the Red Square.
Over 120 people, including a German parliamentarian, were arrested, and eyewitnesses reported that gay activists were beaten by protesters.
The organisers of Gay Pride are currently suing Luzhkov for likening homosexuality to “a satanic act.”
In addition to demanding a retraction of his offensive statement, parade organisers are also seeking 1,000 roubles (£19) each in compensation for moral damage.
In May 2006 the human rights group, Human Rights Watch included Luzhkov in a homophobic ‘hall of shame.’