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Russian local authorities approve Pride march, then ban it less than 24 hours later

Written by gaytourism

Last month LGBTI activists were detained by police in St. Petersburg during a Pride march.

The first government-approved Pride march in Russia got banned today (16 August) within 24 hours of approval.

Following the initial announcement by prominent local LGBTI activist Nikolai Alekseev, officials said they would not let the event go ahead.

The parade was supposed to take place in the village of Yabloneviy, outside Novoulyanovsk, 500 miles east of Moscow. The march, scheduled for 26 August, was set to attract 300 people.

This was Alekseev’s latest attempt to host a Pride in Moscow this year.

The parade could only take place if outside the city

The founder of Gay Russia, Alekseev said he received a letter saying the event could take place. The only condition was that he needed to move it outside the city, hence the decision to host it in a village.

According to the letter Alekseev posted on his VKontakte, the reason for the move was that the route ‘passes through the central part of the city of Novoulyanovsk’. Apparently, ‘a large number of citizens, including minors’ visit the area on a daily basis.

A Pride in a village of seven people

Alekseev also commented on the support received from the head of Novoulyanovsk’s city administration Svetlana Kosarinova.

‘She allowed us to conduct a parade in the village of Yabloneviy, whose population consists of seven (!!!) people,’ he wrote.

‘There was also the option of suggesting the village of Panskaya Sloboda with a population of 131 people, but this was a tad too progressive for modern Russia.’

Alekseev said that Kosarinova joins the ranks of other ‘bravehearts’ alongside the local administration of Yoshkar-Ola. They greenlit an LGBTI event in 2016, before announcing that activists provided too little information and therefore canceled it.

‘Thank you Svetlana Anatolyevna, you are a true liberal, democrat and all-round human.’

Furthermore, Alekseev said he is ready to defend Kosarinova in court.

‘If Svetlana Anatolievna Kosarinova […] has some official problems after the approval of the parade, I personally am ready to defend her in the court and bring her case to the European Court of Human Rights,’ he wrote.

‘The situation in Novoulyanovsk proves that even a high-ranking official in the Russian government is not able to make a decision.’

Authorities banned the previously approved Pride

Less than 24 hours later, an anonymous source said that Novoulyanovsk’s city manager Gennady Denikayev banned the approved Pride.

‘Not anymore,’ the official said during an interview with a Moscow’s radio station.

‘The head of the city was not in the loop about this event and that is why he has banned it.’

Denikayev confirmed the decision.

‘There will be no gay parade on the territory of the Novoulyanovsk municipality,’ Denikayev reportedly told local news outlet Ulnovosti.

‘We intend to defend traditional family values and our children from the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors.’

As part of his activism, Alekseev has constantly tried to organized Prides in areas outside the capital. In the aftermath of today’s decision, he has already submitted a request for an approved Pride in five cities.

LGBTI rights in Russia

Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993. Nonetheless, there is no recognition of same-sex couple and those identifying as LGBTI still experience discrimination on various levels.

Moreover, a 2013 federal law bans the distribution of propaganda to minors, applying to anything that might promote ‘non-traditional sexual relationships,’ Pride included.

Read more about Prides:

16-year-old is first minor prosecuted by Russian ‘anti-gay propaganda’ laws

30 activists detained at LGBT Pride March in St. Petersburg, Russia

Armenian villagers tried to lynch LGBTI people, injured nine of them

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