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New Moscow Mayor Threatens Crackdown on LGBTs

Hear Russia's Foremost Gay Leader in Chicago This Saturday!

GLN permalink 2-23-2011

In a bid to promote the prominence of this May's Moscow Pride and thus hopefully forestall threatened repression by the authorities, Russia's foremost gay leader, Nikolai Alekseev, will tour seven U.S. cities, beginning with Chicago this Saturday, February 26th at 2 PM at the Merlo Public Library, 644 W. Belmont Avenue.

For the last six years lesbian and gay activists in Russia have faced beatings, government bans, intimidation and arrests simply for trying to establish their right to demonstrate for equal rights, let alone winning the rights themselves.

Nikolai Alekseev arrested in Russia.

Joining Alekseev on the tour will be Gay Liberation Network co-founder Andy Thayer, who has participated in the last two illegal Moscow Prides and who has written extensively on the subject. As part of the tour sponsored nationally by the GLN, Alekseev will also present the U.S. premiere of a short film documenting the history of Moscow Pride.

All major religious denominations and political parties in Russia have called for continued government repression of Moscow Pride. Yet after more than five years of "illegal" protests and legal battles in the Russian and international courts, in late October Alekseev's GayRussia organization (www.GayRussia.ru) alone among the myriad opposition groups in the country won the first-ever victory in the European Court of Human Rights. The European Court ruled that Russia had violated Russian LGBT's right to assemble and order the government to pay GayRussia the equivalent of $40,000 US.

But the Russian government appealed the Court's ruling and yesterday Moscow's newly appointed mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, vowed to ban the Pride demonstration anyway (http://en.rian.ru/society/20110216/162636979.html). A ruling on the Russian government's appeal of the European Court decision is expected before the May 28th demonstration.

Legal or "illegal," Russian lesbians and gays have vowed to go forward with their protest.

Assuming, as is most likely, that the European court rejects the Russian government's appeal, the Russian authorities will be confronted with a choice which will reverberate far beyond LGBT issues: Either jeopardize closer ties to Western Europe by ignoring the court ruling, or obey the ruling and gain greater international legitimacy by being seen as a nation improving its human rights record. The final answer will come on May 28 when GayRussia has scheduled Moscow Pride 2011.

Other cities in the tour include New York, Dallas, Fort Worth, West Hollywood, San Francisco and Palm Springs, CA.

Visit the Facebook event for Nikolai's Chicago visit and invite others! -- http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=182683131762894

For more information about the tour, email LGBTliberation@aol.com


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