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Russian Riot Police Break Up Slavic Pride

Jim Burroway

May 16th, 2009
Nikolai Alekseev being arrested by OMON riot police.

Nikolai Alekseev being arrested by OMON riot police.

Police in riot gear swept in and forcibly broke up an attempted Slavic Pride march near Moscow State University shortly after noon today just as the march was getting underway. Between twenty and forty people were arrested in all.

The march had only been underway for about a minute when OMON rushed in and began hauling off marchers to waiting buses. Riot police then began detaining other gay activists who appeared shortly after and were speaking with media. They were arrested even though they hadn’t participated in the march itself. There are reports that as police hauled away Ksenia Prilebskaya, they ripped off her shirt and bra and roughly pushed her into a police bus.

Moscow authorities had earlier denied permission to hold the march, and they vowed to break up any attempt by activists to march without permission. Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has described Pride marches as “satanic,” and his spokesman yesterday said the march sought to “destroy the moral foundations of our society.”

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Among those in custody are Slavic Pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev and Chicago LGBT activist Andy Theyer. Alekseev and another activist were were at an adjacent park popular with newlyweds dressed as a groom and bride while giving interviews with media when police spotted and arrested them. Alekseev was held down by five riot police as he was arrested. British activist Peter Tatchell was arrested but has since been released. One activist has already been taken before a judge who pronounced him innocent, but he still remains in police custody.

There is currently no word from Alekseev since his arrest. He has reportedly been segregated from the other arrested activists and his cell phone has been confiscated.

The detentions come as Moscow prepares to host the final round of the Eurovision Song Contest, Europe’s most prestigious pop music event. Russia had reportedly spent some 24 million euros on the contest in an attempt to bolster its international image. Some singers had threatened to boycott the wildly popular world event if the Slavic Pride march was broken up. Today’s arrests are highly embarrassing for the Eurovision organizers, which has a big gay following across Europe. According to the U.K.’s Telegraph:

Advance questions about the march drew embarrassed silence from Graham Norton, the BBC’s commentator for the competition, and Andrew Lloyd Weber, who co-wrote the song for Britain’s contestant, Jade Ewen. Both men claimed not to have heard of the protest, while Lord Lloyd Weber suggested that it might have been banned to avoid traffic congestion.

A few hours earlier, Russian Orthodox nationalists held a counterdemonstration against Slavic Pride. That counterdemonstration was held with the approval of Moscow city authorities. Demonstrators there chanted “Glory to Christ! Death to the Antichrist!.”

UK Gay News continues to provide hour-by-hour updates on the situation.

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----
May 16th, 2009 | LINK

I hope Eurovision end up somewhere else so Russia feels kicked in the nuts.

occono
May 16th, 2009 | LINK

Eurovision moves every year anyway.

Pomo
May 16th, 2009 | LINK

When I think of all the russian immigrants in my community and they way they treat anyone else, especially gay people, they’re the ones acting more like Satan…

Swampfox
May 16th, 2009 | LINK

Keep us posted on what happened at the Eurovision Concert. I hope that some kind of protest against the police thugs in Moscow does/did occur.

Bruce Garrett
May 17th, 2009 | LINK

“…while Lord Lloyd Weber suggested that it might have been banned to avoid traffic congestion.”

Sometimes I find myself wondering how the common people live. Then I go to Saint-Tropez for a few weeks.

Timothy (TRiG)
May 17th, 2009 | LINK

Prior report from the BBC World Service.

TRiG.

Luke
May 17th, 2009 | LINK

These gay activists are indeed very, very brave, and are a case where a gay pride parade really IS necessary to remind people that gay people exist, in contrast to say, the gay pride parade in Los Angeles.

Although, I have one comment for the gay activists. I would ban any foreigners from marching with them. Gayness, like democracy or liberalism in Russia, is perceived as “foreign.” In Russian news reports already, the headline was “10 foreigners detained in gay-parade.” Better to only allow Russians (people from Belarus are not really foreign, so allow them) to march to make this less Western.

Priya Lynn
May 17th, 2009 | LINK

An interesting idea Luke, but I wonder if foreigners stayed away if the press wouldn’t continue to claim foreigners were behind it anyway like they do in Uganda.

Dieter
May 17th, 2009 | LINK

Makes you want to spend your tourist dollars in such a friendly country. I think there other interesting countries to visit in light of this.

AdrianT
May 18th, 2009 | LINK

A very brave bunch, let’s hope liberty prevails against thuggishness.

PS Eurovision is certainly not prestigious – the acts are mostly appalling, all the Slavic countries vote for each other and it is regarded as a joke by the vast majority of Brits, I can assure you.

VR
May 30th, 2009 | LINK

I hope they weren’t hurt by the police. But the police definitely had the right to arrest them seeing as they didn’t have permission for the march. Marching for legal rights is one thing (if there are laws aimed against homosexuals), parading one’s intimate preferences in front of everybody because people don’t agree with you is a personal issue that shouldn’t be forced on the rest of the population. I believe there is a great difference between protesting about some violent action or other outrageous law infringement against homosexuals and organising a unwanted unallowed parade to show off, getting violented because of it and then complaining about that violence.

VR
May 30th, 2009 | LINK

And no, I’m not Russian (though I am a truebeliever, as most Russians are), not a macho man (not a man at all, actually) and not “homophobic”. Of course, from I saw many people completely misuse the terms fobia and prejudice…

Jason D
May 30th, 2009 | LINK

“parading one’s intimate preferences”

So, a straight couple walking down the street holding hands should be beat up? They’re parading their intimate preferences.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The next time I see a man and a woman in swimsuits on the beach exchanging a kiss, I’ll be sure to beat them up for forcing their lifestyle on me.

FAIL.

Timothy Kincaid
May 30th, 2009 | LINK

and not “homophobic”.

VR,

You seem to misunderstand the meaning of that word.

ho⋅mo⋅pho⋅bi⋅a  /ˌhoʊməˈfoʊbiə/
–noun

unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.

Based on the antipathy evident in your comments, it is quite clear that your attitudes towards gay people are very consistent with the standard meaning of the word “homophobic”.

If you don’t wish to be thought of as homophobic, I invite you to let go of your antipathy and educate yourself as to why a persecuted people in a repressive regime might “break the law” and engage in civil disobedience.

VR
May 31st, 2009 | LINK

I am rather well educated about repressive regimes, thank you very much, seeing as I live in a former socialist republic.

Phobia refers to irrational fear and I know full well what that feels like, I’m afraid of dogs and the fact that I know this is completely irrational doesn’t help much in avoiding panic attacks. If you want to extend this to antipathy, fine. But you can’t rule out the irrational factor in the definition of a phobia. And the fact is that most people who are against homosexuality are not so in an unreasoning manner. They (we) have articulated reasons, deeply grounded in one’s culture. I can assure you I don’t have panic attacks about gay people. :)

Nor do I think they should be beaten. I believing in treating homosexuality, just like people who suffer from other spiritual diseases (say, heterosexual promiscuity) should seek treatment. And there are homosexuals, thousands of them every year, who decide to get treatment and manage to overcome this. One just doesn’t hear much about it, because journalists are being “open minded”.

As of parading one’s intimate preferences, indeed I think it’s wrong. And kindly do not misinterpret my words, I think you know very well I was not referring to small gestures in public towards one’s lover, I was referring to these “pride” parades. Why should a group of people be allowed to disrupt the city’s life because they want to proclaim they’re proud about themselves? From what I know Orthodox Christian faithful youth in my country do not organize “Remain a virgin until marriage” parades (and they could easily claim they are a persecuted minority). That’s a personal issue.

Let me give an example from my country. Teachers are constantly being vilified as taking money from pupils for private tutoring and not declaring this source of income and also they’re often thought of as being incompetent or abusive (which some of them indeed are, but many others suffer because of this generalization). Other people say teachers shouldn’t complain about how little they’re paid because not only do they gain money from tutoring, but they also work a lot less than the rest of us since they only teach classes 18 hours a week or so (thus completely ignoring that teachers are supposed to work a lot to prepare their classes and grade papers).

How do teachers respond? They complain about how they’re being persecuted – among themselves and on the web. Should they organize a teacher pride parade? Those who speak up are certainly very proud of being educators. And they are right about the state not being too concerned with education. But they do no such thing. They protested a lot quite recently when they were withdrawn financial bonuses that helped some of them have a salary which was close to decent. They also protest against changing the final exams content or procedure every year – and other similar experiments that confuse pupils, parents and educators alike. But they do NOT organize marches simply about how people perceive them. And that in spite the fact that how people perceive them might influence children’s attitude towards school.

Gay activists organize this pride parades to get attention. While it is sad the Russian police abuses their power, authorities usually want to avoid conflicts between manifestants and other groups. In my country the Gayfest means hundreds of policemen assigned to protect manifestants (mostly gay activists and transvestites, not common homosexuals who do not take part in these events and often disapprove them). Policemen paid by a population who generally isn’t interested in a minority’s wishes for acceptance by a people they constantly criticize as being bigot and brainwashed. That sounds like victimizing to me and all it does is undermine legitimate claims by legitimate victims, because if a homosexual is agressed many people will think he or she was asking for it since homosexuals don’t have the sense to mind their own business and stop trying to influence the general population.

Of course, the opposite effect is inventing hate-crime legislation and such. And that’s when people’s fears come to life. Yes, we normal people are afraid of “diversity” being forced on our children. We are yet to see the advantages of this diversity. Instead we – and I particularly mean Easterners now – clearly see it’s against our beliefs and education and could disrupt our families. We read that in America children are starting being taught, against their parents’ wishes, that it’s ok for them to be homosexuals. We don’t want that for our children. Call it homophobia, if you will. We think of it as part of raising our children properly.

I think I made my point, hope you’ll see it, if not now, perhaps one day. And please do not think for one moment that I intended to hurt or offend you (if I did that, I beg your forgiveness), I only tried to make you understand how complicated this issue is and why so many people have problems in dealing with it. Walk with God.

Jason D
May 31st, 2009 | LINK

“And there are homosexuals, thousands of them every year, who decide to get treatment and manage to overcome this. One just doesn’t hear much about it, because journalists are being “open minded”.”

Really? Thousands?

Then why is it, whenver someone tries to do a study, tries to gather data, tries to test the premise that these people are cured — why is it that they only manage to scrounge up a couple hundred? Where are these thousands of people? Did they all move to Mars or something? Is a condition of their recovery that they wipe any records that they were ever in treatment? Produce the thousands, produce some proof of thousands — because even people trying to prove that conversion works can’t find thousands, and they know where to look!

The “best” study on this (and that’s being kind) was by Jones and Yarhouse, who were blantantly biased toward reporting success. Their success was less than 20% — meaning a more than 80% FAILURE rate. And every single one of their success stories said that they still had desires (after years of therapy) That’s not success. If a doctor tries for years to cure your cancer and he only manages to make it smaller, that’s not success, that’s not a cure.
It’s an interesting intellectual slight-of-hand that you call this a “spiritual sickness” thus avoiding the fact that the medical establishment is in full agreement that there is no illness. The truth is, gay people, when tested along straight people, do not exhibit any of the signs of mental pathology. We are not sick.

“Gay activists organize this pride parades to get attention.”

ABSOLUTELY. That’s the POINT! At least you understand that much. They organize these protests (that’s what they are, fundamentally) to bring to light the unfair and inhumane treatment the receive. The fact that it’s lost on you doesn’t mean they aren’t successful, it seems to me it just indicates how prejudiced you are.

Timothy Kincaid
May 31st, 2009 | LINK

VR,

You do clearly demonstrate the attitudes and temperment of a people who have been conditioned to accept oppression.

Here in the United States, the teachers regularly march and protest if they believe their needs are not being addressed. And if purity-loving kids wanted to march, they would certainly be allowed (and encouraged) to do so.

I pity you that you live in so repressive of a society that you think that people should not be allowed to freely assemble and to unite for a common cause.

If you don’t mind my asking, where do you live?

Mitch Turner
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

Too bad VR didn’t know Micheal Vick when he had his “puppy parties”. If he did he might have lost his “fear” of dogs.

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