2007-07-27 13:31:00

Deputy head of staff of Moscow city mayor and government denies gay rights violations

Moscow, July 27, Interfax - Deputy head of staff of Moscow city mayor and government Vladimir Shukshin denies that sexual minorities experience any discrimination from the city government.

‘What discrimination are you talking about? Turn on your TV and watch any show or concert. There are plenty of gay clubs in Moscow and no one closes them,’ Shukshin told Moskovsky Komsomolets daily in his interview published on Friday.

It is law and order that should be prioritized in this situation, he said.

‘It is not gays but law and order that matters here. For instance, when New York gay community wanted to parade on the same day the local Irish had their St. Patrick’s Day, they were forbidden to do that in order not to hurt Roman Catholics’ religious feelings. And the gays did not parade indeed,’ he said.

In Moscow, Shukshin added, the situation was quite the contrary as the gay community ignored the city government’s ban and tried to go parading anyway.

‘They went out ignoring the ban. They invited some foreigners to join them, some of which were bitten. By the way, the individual who kicked the Englishman was detained at the spot. But afterwards they blamed the Moscow government,’ he said.

When the city government decides on allowing or not allowing a public action in Moscow, our only concern is public safety.

‘Regardless of what members of the city government believe as persons, their duty is to keep law and order in Moscow. It does not matter for us who applies for a permit to hold a meeting. Our decisions proceed from the need to preserve the city safe and quite,’ he said.

When the city councilors banned the gay parade in Moscow, their concerns were to insure order in the city and safety of sexual minorities, he noted.

‘When the Moscow government banned the gay parade, we kept in mind the interests of all Moscow people and safety of the gays. We knew that skinheads and some radical religious groups were preparing for the parade too. It could have been a bloodbath. And afterwards they would accuse the city government and the police. But the gays ignored our arguments and violated our ban,’ he said.