Activists plan next Moscow Pride on day of Eurovision final

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Despite bans on the event every year, the organisers of Moscow Pride have announced their plans for 2009.

Russia won the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year for the first time, and it was announced yesterday that next year’s final will be held on May 16th at Moscow’s Olympiyskiy stadium.

“We will conduct the gay pride on the day of the Eurovision final,” organiser Nicolas Alexeyev told the Interfax news agency

“As usual we will notify Moscow authorities about the conduct of the event.”

Last week Pride activists said they would be holding an international conference dedicated to the International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May.

They intend to invite the Mayors of Paris and Berlin, who are gay, and the Mayor of London, who is not.

“Russia must show that it is part of the civilised world, of the European family, that it is tolerant and that it is possible to conduct public actions of sexual minorities in Moscow,” said Mr Alexeyev.

The Mayor of Moscow has called gay rights activists “Satanic” and banned Pride in 2006 and 2007.

This year Pride organisers applied for permission to hold five marches a day, every day of May.

All were rejected by Moscow municipal authorities on the grounds they would “endanger public order and cause negative reaction of the majority of the population.”

On June 1st a group of 30 gay activists managed to stage short protests in front of Moscow City Hall and a statue of Tchaikovsky yesterday without being arrested.

There followed a farcical game of cat and mouse as police surrounded an apartment where four activists were eventually arrested after hours of siege.

They were held overnight and charged with taking part in an unauthorised demonstration and failing to obey police orders.

The short demonstrations were planned in order to take the authorities by surprise.