A group of gay activists led by the notorious lawyer Nikolai Alexeev has recently stepped up its activities aimed at staging the first gay pride parade in Moscow in May 2006. The event is designed to conclude a conference of gays and lesbians.
“All liberal and human rights organizations of Europe along with the social democratic mayors of Paris and Berlin have expressed support to our initiative. The Central Committee of the French Communist Party even promised to send a delegation of French gay communists to the Moscow event,” said Nikolai Alexeev, in an interview to Pravda.ru.
“By the way, Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde’s grandson, has called on Russian politicians to show support to the Moscow gay parade. Lev Ponomarev, a human rights activist, has pledged his support to the event. We hope that other liberals and human rights activists ranging from Yuri Samodurov to Nikita Belykh to Grigory Yavlinsky will support it and help turn the coming May into a month of culture and struggle for equality of gays and lesbians,” added Alexeev.
With the exception of Mr. Ponomarev, no liberal politicians have spoken out on the controversy over the parade plan. Meanwhile, representatives of virtually all traditional religions in Russia have made quite it clear that a marching of gays and lesbians was not acceptable because it would offend the morals of the majority of Russians and would promote sodomy, which is strongly condemned by all world religions.
Talgat Tadjuddin, supreme mufti of the Central Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of Russia, was the first religious leader to speak on the issue. He said that a gay parade in Moscow would spark off a wave of protests among the Muslims. “The protests will be much stronger than those being launched against the scandalous Danish cartoons abroad,” the mufti was quoted as saying by Interfax. The mufti also warned of possible consequences of the planned event. “By no means the authorities should allow the parade. Should the participants take to the streets, they should be given a good beating. All normal people – the Muslims and Christians alike – will beat them up,” said Tadjuddin.
Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church had repeatedly spoken out against the parade plan. Today they actually supported Tadjuddin’s stance though they used milder words for the statement: “The Russian Orthodox Church considers homosexuals as utterly unhappy people as long as they refrain from drawing others into their circles. We are calling on those people to repent and give up their wicked lifestyle,” said Maxim Dudko, secretary with the foreign relations department of the Moscow Patriarchate. “However, if those people promote homosexuality – a gay parade is, without doubt, the promotion of sodomy – then it is our duty to join forces and protest against such immoral and appalling actions,” said Dudko.
Not only Moscow-based Russian Orthodox community shows indignation, members of the Russian Orthodox Church in the provinces also condemn the parade. A statement by the well-known cleric Alexander Novopashin caused quite a stir in the city of Novosibirsk. “Sin has come to light, it became self-confident and brazen. It is no longer hiding in the depths of the human heart,” said Novopashin in his comment on the plans to conduct a sodomitical event in Moscow.
Russian Jews also strongly objected to the parade following a high level of controversy caused by the scandalous topic. “A parade of homosexuals insults the believers as mush as any caricatures published in the press,” said Chief Rabbi of Russia Berl Lazar. “We should be thinking about the fate of our children, and therefore encouragement of homosexuality and sexual perversions is not permissible in any form or shape,” said the rabbi.
In view of such a unanimous condemnation of the gay parade in our capital, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and city authorities will certainly ban it. One can image the amount of pressure put on Luzhkov and the city government by foreign and local human rights organizations, especially by those financed from European and U.S. foundations. It is a well-known fact that claiming the rights and freedoms of sexual minorities has long been one of the main methods used by the West for “promoting” democracy in “underdeveloped” countries. Staging public actions is one of the ways used for the above purpose.
The organizers of the parade apparently count on the domestic and overseas backing. So far they have shown no intention of canceling the plans. They are going to launch another public campaign in April when Brokeback Mountain will be released in Russia’s cinemas. The film focuses on a homosexual relationship between two American cowboys in the 1960s. The picture was to have hit the club screens in January yet the opening night was postponed closer to the date of the gay march on the Moscow streets.
The gay art lobby both in the U.S. and Russia stirred up a lot of fuss over that passable “drama” by Ang Lee. Aside from winning a bunch of Golden Globe Awards, it was also nominated for eight Oscars! Given the Hollywood customs, the film looks set for the Oscars. Moreover, Heath Ledger is widely expected to win Best Actor for his portrayal of one of the “gay cowboys .”