A poster featuring Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/GettyImages)
The mayor of a town in Russia agreed to hold a Pride parade, but later banned it fearing that children might see it.
LGBT+ rights activist Nikolay Alexeev has headed a campaign for “freedom of assembly for LGBT people” in 380 cities in Russia, and the town of Strezhovoy was to be the first to agree.
Alexeev posted on the Russian social media site VK on July 12: “The authorities of the city of Strezhevoy in the Tomsk region have just agreed to hold a gay parade march!
“The action will take place on July 24! Strezhevoy may become the first city in Russia where the gay parade procession will take place with the approval of the authorities.”
However on July 14 he posted again to say that the mayor had backtracked, making increasingly difficult demands including changing the route and time of the parade before banning it completely.
He wrote: “As soon as I agree to their insanely inconvenient offers, such as abandoned suburbs, villages and settlements, which, as they believe, I will not accept, a ban comes immediately.”
The parade was banned to “protect children” and avoid breaking Russia’s “gay propaganda” law
He posted pictures of letters received from the mayor which, according to local publication VTOMSKE, said that the parade had been banned “in order to protect children from information that promotes the rejection of traditional family values.”
The letter continued: “Information from open sources gives the administration of Strezhevoy to believe that the true purpose of holding public events may be the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations, the formation of the attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relations.”
Alexeev said he would appeal the decision in court, and take the issue to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The “promotion of homosexuality” is illegal in Russia and is commonly known as the country’s “gay propaganda” law, which was introduced in 2013.
The stated purpose of the law is to protect children from being exposed to “homonormativity.”