While speaking at an AIDS conference (no less!), Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said that the city would continue to ban gay rights marches and other “propaganda”:
“So-called democrats consider that sexual minorities can be the main indicator and main symbol of democracy, but we will in future continue to ban propaganda of the views of sexual minorities. Of course, we will be criticised by all democrats in the world but in each society there are own views on that.”
The mayor reportedly blamed gays for the spread of AIDS in Russia, and said that condoms should not be a part of an HIV-prevention program because, he said, “contemporary science” claims that they are not 100% safe. Mayor Luzhkov has previously referred to gays as “satanic.”
For the past several years, local gay rights organizations have been denied permits to hold Pride marches in Moscow. Two years ago, an attempted Pride parade was broken up by police and local thugs. Last year, Pride organizers were able to outsmart Moscow police and hold two visible and public events before authorities were able to shut them down. This occurred despite Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s order that local authorities authorize the march.
Next year, Moscow Pride organisers plan to take advantage of increased visibility surrounding the next May’s Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow to hold a coinciding Pride celebration.