2010-12-23 10:22:00

Senior judge: Strasbourg ruling on Russian gay parade bans culturally insensitive

Moscow, December 23, Interfax - A top Russian judge criticized October's ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) declaring bans on three planned gay pride parades in Moscow to have been in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ruling disregarded some aspects of Russian society, Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin told a news conference in Moscow.

"Such a sensitive issue, something that is allowed at such festivals in Amsterdam or Berlin with their sexual minorities. I want to point out that in Russia sexual minorities are under the protection of the constitution as well. But you just try to arrange a gay parade in Makhachkala or in Grozny or in Kazan with support from the Strasbourg court. You realize what will happen in Russia, don't you?" he said.

Makhachkala, Grozny and Kazan and the capitals of the predominantly Muslim Russian republics of Dagestan, Chechnya and Tatarstan respectively.

"What are those ladies and gentlemen thinking about when they are sitting inside that glass building and throwing stones at others?" Zorkin said.

On October 21, the ECHR declared bans by the Moscow city government on planned gay pride parades in 2006, 2007 and 2008 to be violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, said the leader of the Russian gay movement, Nikolay Alexeyev.

The court ordered Russia to pay the parade organizers 17,000 euros in compensation for their judiciary costs and 12,000 euros as emotional damage compensation, Alexeyev said.