Moscow officials have for the first time approved plans for a gay Pride event, reports Interfax-Religion. Officials have previously fought attempts to hold Pride events in the Russian capital and have refused to sanction them.
Event organizers say that this, the 6th Pride event was approved by officials on Tuesday.
The Moscow government told the Moscow gay pride parade organizers on Tuesday that the Moscow authorities have authorized a gay pride parade in Moscow,” Alexeyev said in a statement released in Moscow.
The organizers notified the Moscow government and the Moscow traffic police of their intention to hold a gay pride parade on April 12, he said.
The rally entitled “Moscow Gay Pride Parade: Homosexuality in the History of World Culture and Civilization” will take place on May 28, Alexeyev said.
Bans on gay pride events dating all the way back to 2006 have been the subject of a court battle.
October 2010 saw the European Court of Human Rights unanimously rule in Alekseyev v. Russia that bans on Moscow Pride events between 2006-2008 breached three separate articles of the European Convention which guarantees freedom of assembly, the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation and the right to effective legal remedy. Russia appealed to the Grand Chamber, but the Grand Chamber upheld the ruling.
Applications for previous events have been made two weeks prior to the event itself. However, organizers this year decided on a different approach, applying for a license well in advance. Instead of framing the event as a political one, organizers also chose to make Pride 2011 a “mass cultural and educational event,” hoping that this would be perceived as less threatening to government officials than a solely political rally.
The purpose of the event is described by organizers as one that aims to give objective information about the history of homosexuality, to describe the input of famous LGBT cultural figures and as a way to hopefully promote tolerance.
During previous unsanctioned events, attendees have been attacked and injured. It is hoped that with officials sanctioning the event, this kind of violence will be prevented from happening.