Moscow’s Mayor will not face court over Pride bans

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The organisers of Moscow Pride were officially informed today that a criminal case against the homophobic Mayor of Moscow, who banned the event, would not be opened.

Moscow Prosecution Department told organisers that Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who previously referred to gay rights marches as “Satanic,” would not be prosecuted.

“We are not surprised by the conclusions of the prosecution department and its denial to start a criminal investigation against the Mayor,” said gay rights activist and Pride organiser Nicolas Alexeyev.

“We will thoroughly study the document which we received today and will decide whether to appeal it in courts.”

Moscow Pride organisers were denied the right to hold an event in May for three years running by the Mayor.

They wrote to the General Prosecution Department asking for a criminal investigation into the bans.

Organisers also tried to sue the President when they received no response to a letter sent to him about Moscow Pride but a court found that he was immune from legal action.

Tverskoi District Court and Moscow City Court are now considering the bans on this year’s Pride marches.

Activists tried to have the Mayor prosecuted under Article 149 of the Russian Criminal Code for using his political power to prevent legal public events for the LGBT community in the city.

“The prosecutors did not investigate whether Moscow Mayor breached Article 149 of Russian Criminal Code,” said Mr Alexeyev.

“The Mayor actually banned all public events of homosexual people in Moscow, depriving a huge social group of their constitutional right to express their views.”

Mr Alexeyev also said that the Moscow authorities have not allowed other public events to take place because it would bring attention to the problem of homophobia in Russia.

The Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow banned collective picketing outside the office of General Prosecution, due to security concerns.

Mr Alexeyev took part in a solitary protest outside the offices. He held a placard that read ‘No one repealed Article 149 of Criminal Code yet’ and ‘Homophobia of Moscow mayor should be prosecuted’ and demanded a criminal investigation into the Mayor’s decisions and actions.