Russia approves – then cancels – historic LGBT Pride event in village with seven residents

St Petersburg Pride in Russia

A LGBT+ Pride event which was authorised to take place in a tiny, remote Russian village has been cancelled by local authorities.

The village is situated on the Volga River and home to just seven people, according to The Moscow Times.

This week, LGBT+ rights activist Nikolai Alekseyev said officials had made the unprecedented move to grant a request to hold a gay pride demonstration in a village near the town of Novoulyanovsk in southern Russia.

“The head of the Novoulyanovsk administration, Svetlana Kosarinova, is the bravest person in Russia. She’s allowed a gay pride in the village of Yabloenvy, with a population of seven people,” Alekseyev wrote on the Russian social media site VK.

He said the event would take place on August 26, adding it would not be possible to hold the event in a larger village or town as it would be too “progressive.”

Shortly afterwards, an unnamed official from Novoulyanovsk told a local radio station the event had been cancelled.

Policemen detain a LGBT activist during a protest in Moscow on August 26, 2017. Nearly 1,000 Russians protested during a demonstration against the intensification of surveillance and restrictions on the Internet, marked by at least eight arrests. / AFP PHOTO / Maxim ZMEYEV (Photo credit should read MAXIM ZMEYEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Police detain a LGBT activist during a protest in Moscow in 2017 (MAXIM ZMEYEV/AFP/Getty)

“It will no longer be happening. The city head was not aware of the event, so he prohibited it,” the official said.

LGBT+ Pride events are prohibited in Russia under the country’s anti-gay law.

In 2013, the State Duma passed a federal law banning “gay propaganda” – positive information about “non-traditional sexual relations” – amid a push to enshrine deeply conservative values.

Two years later, Russian police detained several gay rights activists for attempting to stage an unauthorised LGBT Pride event in Moscow.

Earlier this month, police detained around 30 LGBT activists in St Petersburg who tried to hold a Pride rally.

People wave gay rights' movement rainbow flags during the gay pride rally in Saint Petersburg, on Agust 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

LGBT rights protesters in St Petersburg (OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty)

Around 60 campaigners assembled in Palace Square after their request for a Pride parade was turned down by local authorities.

The incident appeared to confirm fears voiced by LGBT+ people in Russia during this summer’s World Cup that the relaxed policing towards the community would end after the competition, which finished on July 15.

Aleksei Nazarov, who helped to organise the rally, told AFP that “in total, 30 people were arrested,” adding that he himself had been held in a police vehicle with one other protester.

“Everyone else has been taken to a police station,” he added.