Even though Moscow's former mayor, the virulently homophobic Yuri Luzhkov, was fired in September, the city's new mayor has followed in his predecessor's steps by banning gay pride in the Russian capital.
Gay activists including Nikolai Alekseyev had hoped that new mayor Sergei Sobyanin would be more amenable to allowing Moscow Gay Pride, which Luzhkov refused to do. But city officials denied a permit for the pride event on the grounds that it will spark civil unrest -- the letter was received on Tuesday, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
"I don't think it was premeditated, it's simply a coincidence, but this coincidence is nonetheless symbolic," Alekseyev said, according to Radio Free Europe. "As events are held around the world -- including at an official level -- to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Russia pursues its caveman, primitive policy of bans."
Amnesty International called on Moscow to change its decision, and gay leaders like Alekseyev are still planning to hold a pride event.