Nikolay Alexeyev, a gay Russian activist and founder of Gay Russia, recently received a letter from the government that said that gay pride events would be permitted by the government only if they moved their route away from the major city of Novoulyanovsk.
According to a social media post, with translation, Alexeyev was told that they needed to move because their current route “[passed] through the central part of the city of Novoulyanovsk… which is visited by a large number of citizens, including minors.”
In the same post, Alexeyev also mentioned that the head of Novoulyanovsk’s city administration had allowed them to conduct the parade in a small village populated by seven people. “In this way, the first ever approved gay parade in Russia should go ahead on 26 of August 2018 between 12 AM and 14 PM in the village of Yabloneviy,” Alexeyev posted. “The main thing is not to exceed the stated number of participants. We declared 300 people. We will begin assembling a list of participants. It will be the coolest event in Russia’s history.”
According to Newsweek, less than a day after Alexeyev announced the alternative route proposal, Novoulyanovsk authorities started pulling back on their decision. An anonymous city official told a Russian radio station that “the head of the city here was not in the loop about this event and that is why he has banned it.”
According to Newsweek, Alexeyev has decided to stand by the the original permission that was granted. If the female official who granted the original permission was to be reprimanded, Alexeyev offered to defend her personally. Alexeyev first gained a public platform from his work as a lawyer — in 2010, Alexeyev won the first LGBT human rights case at the European Court of Human Rights.
Since 2013, Russian officials have been cracking further down on LGBT folks due to the visibility law that now lists LGBT displays or symbols as “adult content,” which makes Alexeyev’s goal to host a Pride event all the more complicated.