Gay pride parade briefly allowed, then cancelled in Russian village of 7 residents

Emotions are running high in Russias Volga region after local authorities first allowed and then cancelled a gay pride parade in a village of seven residents. Organizers say its the first pride parade authorities ever approved.

News that the quiet village of Yablonevy, some 800km from Moscow would host an LGBT event on August 26 was released by gay rights activist Nikolay Alekseev on Thursday. He stressed that he received the long-awaited approval from the head of Novoulyanovsk town administration which also governs Yablonevy village.

Alekseev hailed the event as the “coolest” in Russia. In a post released on Russian social media network VKontakte, he said it was due to be the first gay pride parade “approved by the authorities…in Russias history.” A maximum of 300 participants were allowed to take part.

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Later on Thursday the activist claimed that the administration also approved two LBGT rallies in Novoulyanovsk, a town of 16,000 people, scheduled for Friday evening. “This is sensational news, even cooler than the gay parade in Yablonevy,” he wrote.

Yet less than an hour after the news about the rallies was released, Russian media started reporting that the events were cancelled by another official in the local administration. Its not yet clear if all events – or only the gay pride parade in Yablonevy – were cancelled.

However, Alekseev is not planning to give up just yet. Speaking to RT, he said that he didnt receive any official letter about the cancellation of the events and insists that the official who cancelled them doesnt even have a legal right to do so.

The 40-year-old activist stressed that hes been fighting for the freedom to hold LGBT demonstrations in Russia for several years now, adding that he has made requests to organize rallies and parades in some 270 cities and towns across the whole country.

Back in 2013 Russia introduced legislation that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations directed at minors.” While not censoring homosexuality itself, the law prohibits the dissemination of information about non-traditional sexual relationships which could spark interest from under 18s. Fines for breaking it amount to 4-5,000 rubles ($60-75) for private citizens and 40-50,000 rubles ($600-750) for civil servants. Propaganda via the media or the internet by legal entities raises the fine to 1 million rubles ($15,000).

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