By Refusing Pride Permit, City of Moscow Invites Another Year of Gay Bashings

The city of Moscow has a history with Pride that can only be described as “shameful.”

After years of police harassment and anti-gay assaults, organizers were only able to hold a peaceful Pride rally last year by employing some serious spy-novel tactics: trading cell phones so they couldn’t be traced, arriving in the city in unmarked vehicles, riding the subway all day to throw off anyone following them.

Last year’s Moscow Pride was basically a flash mob, a short unannounced march down a freeway median that was chiefly spread via word of mouth and only lasted a few minutes.

It was a peaceful event, but total secrecy isn’t exactly conducive to a well-attended party. So this year, Pride applied for a permit well in advance.

And now they’ve been denied.

That’s a risky move by the city of Moscow. Last year, a European Union court ruled that the country had violated Pride’s civil rights by denying permits in the past, and that they were required to issue permits henceforth.

What’s next? Well, they’ll hold the rally in Moscow whether they have a permit or not, but it looks like we might be in for another year of attacks and harassment.

In the mean time, organizers are asking that you call the Russian embassy in Washington to protest the government’s banning of Moscow Pride. Their numbers are (202) 338-3263 or (202) 232-5988. If you do call, let us know what they say!