U.S. Condemns Violence at Moscow Pride

Following the arrests of around 30 people at last Saturday’s unauthorized Moscow Pride, among them a handful of Americans including DADT discharged soldier Dan Choi, the U.S. State Department has issued a statement of “concern” surrounding the events.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said:

“We note with concern that in Moscow on Saturday, May 28, a peaceable demonstration of Russians advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians, joined by international supporters, was forcefully disrupted by counterprotesters, and that Russian security forces then detained people from both groups, including American citizens. Some protesters were seriously injured according to media reports. Freedom of assembly is a fundamental right all members of the OSCE committed to, including in the Moscow declaration and as recently as the Astana summit. As nationwide legislative elections approach, constraints on the ability of Russian citizens peacefully to gather and express their views will be closely watched in evaluating the integrity of the electoral process. We call on Russian authorities to work with municipal officials to find better ways to safeguard these fundamental freedoms.”

Allegations that police worked in tandem with neo-Nazi groups to break up the Pride event persist, and as more nations condemn the Moscow authorities’ actions, there is also a growing demand for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to condemn Saturday’s crackdown on the Pride gathering.

As previously reported, early hopes were that Moscow Pride would be sanctioned by Moscow City Hall’s new administration.

This follows an October 2010 decision in which the European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously that banning Moscow Pride events, as was the case 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.

However, what appeared to be the green light last month turned out to be false — Moscow officials banned Pride citing, as the previous administration had, that they were unable to ensure the safety of participants.

In light of this, the force that was used on Saturday and the severity with which citizens exercising basic freedom of assembly were treated seems disproportionate at best, and at worst an overt attempt to suppress.

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to brainchildvn.


John Doucette
John Doucette7 years ago

Moscow city officials were unable to ensure the safety of parade participants. Of course, some of those parade participants needed to be protection from were apparently the city officials.

Bart V.
Bart V.7 years ago

It is imperative that informed countries keep applying pressure to those who are anti-gay for whatever reasons; cultural or religious. It is also essential to keep an eye on groups such as those that recently held a "kill the gays" rally in the Bronx; describing gays as "worthy of death". These statements apparently received the support from both Protestants & Catholics.

Marina Brennan
Marins Brennan7 years ago

As a Russian, I agree with Jonathan when he says that most Americans have no idea of the Russian mentality. There is a sizable Russian population in the US, and most Russians quickly adapt American mentality while remaining close to their roots.
Calling Russia a "miserable place full of miserable people" is just as accurate as calling the US a country with no soul and no culture, full of Europe's rejects and convicts, who also happen to be obese (according to stereotypes that run in Russia.)

Most Russian men are homophobic. I think it comes from ignorance and the prevalent machismo culture. Homophobic women feel like eligible men are being taken away from them by some "mental disorder" that is to them attraction to the same sex.
Russian culture has been changing rapidly after the end of the Soviet Union, and I hope Russians will become more accepting with time.

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y7 years ago

On the contrary Russia has a very long and mostly tragic history. It is full of intolerance, tyranny, repression, and genocide (pogroms is their word for it).

One of the few things leavening this is Christianity, but unfortunately the Orthodox Church also became part of the problem during some of the Tsarist regimes.

Russia has its OWN journey to go on and it is presumptuous of us to say where. Most Americans have no idea of the history and culture of this complex and thorny mentality.

Richard L.
Richard L.7 years ago

I generally agree with Joslynne, though I'm not sure I agree as much about politics as morality/religion and the mote in the Judeo-Chrisitian (pagan) eye. Then again maybe it is the Joslynne's who continually deflect criticism from a MAJOR source of problems, RELIGION, to lay it always on politics. Uh uh, homophobia is rooted in idiotic interpretations of scripture/God/Bible and morons sit their with their jaw dropped and let these bastards get away with their stupidity. Usually making completely lame excuses for them too and in effect giving them a green light to continue with their moronic views.

I hope Russians continue their tradition of anti-religion (man), however try to seperate the goodness of God from man's idiocy and evil. Homosex is beeeautiful except when men are f**king each other in the a**. Pssst morons, an a**hole is not a vagina. Yes, I am offensive. Too bad. The truth is offensive. I mean if you don't comprehend the difference between an a** and a vagina, you deserve whatever follows. And, in effect, you create justified homophobia. Get a freakin' clue.

Alicia N.
Alicia N7 years ago

Ignorance and Evil should make friends with Love and Compassion.

Ruby W.
Ruby W7 years ago

has Russia ever been anything but a miserable place full of miserable people?

Joslynne Davidson

It's Russia-they have a long way to go but they will get there before the US. They are still in turmoil and have no idea what they really believe in. This is what happens when 'the wall' comes down, and having no history to build from, the country flounders.

As usual, the US makes a statement about other countries political dealings but refuses to deal with the mote in their own eyes.

Bernadette P.
berny p7 years ago


Valarie S.
Valarie Snell7 years ago