Moscow’s officials have just been given carte blanche to quash all pride events for the next 100 years–that’s right, until 2112. The Tverskoy district court, a local-level trial court, put its stamp of approval on the city’s homophobic stance, which was brought to the fore by Nikolai Alekseev, a noted gay rights activist, founder of GayRussia.eu, and former journalist. Since 2006 Alekseev has applied 102 times for a permit to hold a pride march in the Russian capital, and each time his request has been denied. Just last week more than 30 people peacefully protesting for the right to hold a pride parade were arrested at the city council building.
This development follows on the heels of Alekseev’s arrest in St. Petersburg under that city’s new “gay propaganda” ban. The ban, which imposes a 5000-ruble (about $155) fine for “promoting homosexuality” among minors or “present[ing] homosexuality as normal behavior,” has been mimicked in other regions of Russia and is gaining popularity among members of the national legislature, which may soon be considering such a country-wide ban.
Alekseev’s group is appealing the Tverskoy court’s decision to the Moscow City Court Presidium. If, as expected, this court affirms the original decision, an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is already in the works. In the meantime, the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) is set to consider a complaint by Irina Fedotova, who was arrested under a regional “gay propaganda” law last year. Any resulting UNHRC declaration would be unenforceable, though a ruling by the ECHR on Alekseev’s case would be legally binding.