By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com March 27 2013 8:37 PM ET
An LGBT leader in Syktyvkar, Russia, was severely beaten, reportedly by a neo-Nazi activist, the same day the city administration announced it would not allow a planned gay pride demonstration to take place in the city center.
Pride organizer Artem Kalinin, chair of the local LGBT group, was on a city street being interviewed for local television Monday when he was attacked, Gay Star News reports. Alex Kolegov, leader of Syktyvkar’s neo-Nazi group, pushed Kalinin to the ground after hearing Kalinin call him a Nazi and then beat him, leaving Kalinin badly bruised. Journalists pulled Kolegov off Kalinin, who reported the assault to police, but Kolegov was not arrested.
Kalinin said the city’s LGBT organization will “hold pride in spite of everything.” The event is set for Sunday. “This incident will not change my decision,” Kalinin said.
Nor will city officials’ promise to prevent the march, which they made in response to “requests from the city’s religious and public organizations not to allow public events promoting homosexual values,” according to a statement they released. The statement said the LGBT group can hold the event in a less central location, away from public view. “It also stated that Syktyvkar’s Mayor Ivan Pozdeyev requested that city lawmakers prepare a draft law banning any similar events,” Gay Star News notes.
Laws against pro-LGBT “propaganda” have gathered support in Russia over the past few years. The city of St. Petersburg has adopted one, and similar legislation is pending at the national level. The laws, which ban “promotion of homosexuality” through any venue that is accessible to minors, have the effect of prohibiting pride parades and many other public events.
See video of the attack on Kalinin below.