The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was criticised by the leader of gay movement in Russia as she failed to bring up the problem of homophobia in the country.
Clinton attended a ceremony unveiling a statue of poet Walt Whitman at Moscow State University with Russian officials including Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Luzhkov has blocked all attempts to hold gay pride marches in Moscow, once saying they "can be described in no other way than as satanic."
Clinton did not mention of the issue during the ceremony. Some biographers have described Whitman as homosexual and U.S. gay activists have claimed him as symbol of their movement.
"Just as Pushkin and Whitman reset poetry we are resetting our relations for the 21st century," Clinton said.
Gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev said Wednesday he was disappointed Clinton did not discuss discrimination against gays.
A U.S. State Department spokesman said the department was unaware of any request from the Russian gay community.
Homosexuality was only decriminalized in Russia in 1993 and homophobic attitudes remain widespread.
Activists have taken the struggle to hold a gay pride parade in Moscow to the European Court of Justice, which is scheduled to rule on the issue in early 2010.
The statue of Walt Whitman was placed in the gardens of Moscow State University, where in May more than 30 gay activists were arrested for attempting to hold a pride march.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.
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