Moscow’s appeals court on Friday upheld a decision by city officials to ban all Pride events in the area for the next 100 years.
This comes after gay rights campaigners, among them the renowned Nikolay Alekseyev, used a loophole in current law to apply for permits to hold Pride events for the next 100 years, hoping to provoke a stand-off with city officials that would allow campaigners to take the fight to court.
Alekseyev got his wish when, as expected, city officials rejected the request and effectively banned the Pride events for the next century, citing security and riot concerns. Gay rights campaigners then petitioned the local courts.
In June, the Moscow Tverskoy District Court ruled the city’s decision to ban the events were lawful. Now, Moscow’s appeals court has upheld that decision. Now, Alekseyev is determined to take this fight to the European Court of Human Rights.
On Friday he said he would go back to the European Court in Strasbourg to push for a recognition that Moscow’s ban on gay pride marches – past, present and future – was unjust.
The Moscow city government argues that the gay parade would risk causing public disorder and that most Muscovites do not support such an event.
The European Court of Human Rights has on several occasions served the Russian authorities notice that any attempt to curtail freedom of speech and assembly of its citizens, under the guise of security concerns, run contrary to human rights standards unless there are mitigating and legitimate reasons. The ECHR has also made explicit that such freedoms must be given to all citizens, even minority groups that are unpopular.
The Russian Duma is currently flirting with a nationwide ban on the so-called “promotion” of homosexuality based on those adopted by several local authorities including the now infamous St Petersburg ban.