Human Rights Watch: Gay Parade Banned in Moscow, Russia Denies Existance Of Gays

Less than a month after Human Rights Watch released a damning report of the Putin administration's crackdown on civil liberties, Moscow officials have rejected an application by gay rights advocates to hold a parade. The City Administration says that "according to Russian legislation, we must work clearly and consistently on maintaining morality, oriented toward the teaching of patriotism in the growing generation, and not toward incomprehensible aspirations," and that this event threatens the patriotic values of youths.

Human Right Watch released a 78-page report in April that outlines the unprecedented crackdown on civil liberties in post-Soviet history. Since returning to power in 2012, the report claims, Putin's government has "introduced a series of restrictive laws, begun a nationwide campaign of invasive inspections of nongovernmental organizations, harassed, intimidated, and in a number of cases imprisoned political activists, and sought to cast government critics as clandestine enemies."

Although the changes outlined by HRW have implications at all levels of society, the LGBT community is particularly at risk. Last week a 23-year-old man was sodomized with beer bottles and beaten to death with a concrete block in a crime believed to be motivated by homophobia. Further, Civil Rights Defenders recently submitted an alternative report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child protesting the Russian Federation's ignorance of LGBT youths in their original report to the Committee.

In what appears to be an attempt to deny the existence of the LGBT community, Aleksei Mavarov, the director of regional safety for the Moscow city administration, said of the rejected parade: "In our opinion, there is no demand for these kinds of events in the city." This is part of a broader anti-LGBT movement in government, which includes a federal ban on "homosexual propaganda," or in other words any public demonstrations of gay rights.

As the International Federation for Human Rights explains, LGBT oppression is only part of the massive human rights violations in Russia. Since Putin has been elected, there has been a noticeable increase in cases of intolerance, xenophobia, racism, crackdowns on journalists, and the abuse of migrants.

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Maxime Fischer-Zernin

Studying Political Science at Duke University (T. '15). His interests lie primarily in American national security and foreign policy. He is currently an Editor-at-Large for the Duke Political Review, and is a contributor for PolicyMic.com.

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