Local Authorities Withdraw Approval For Russia's First Gay-Pride Parade

Local authorities in Russia say they have withdrawn their approval of what would have been the country's first officially approved gay-pride parade -- an event that had been scheduled for August 26 in a village with only seven residents on the outskirts of the city of Novoulyanovsk.

Novoulyanovsk's city manager, Gennady Denikayev, said on August 16 that the approval given for the parade by the city's mayor was invalid because the decision had been made without consulting him or Novoulyanovsk's city council.

"I made a decision, there will be no gay parade," Denikayev said. "We intend to protect traditional family values and, foremost, our children from the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations."

Media reports about a gay-pride parade in the Yablonevy settlement in Russia's Ulyanovsk region emerged after Nikolai Alekseyev, one of Russia's leading gay-rights activists, wrote on Facebook on August 15 that Novoulyanovsk's mayor, Svetlana Kosarinova, had formally approved the event.

Calling Kosarinova "Russia's most courageous human," Alekseyev had thanked her and predicted 300 people would take part in the parade.

"This is the coolest development in Russia's history! Thank you," Alekseyev wrote, calling her "a real liberal, democrat, and simply the greatest human."

Alekseyev also posted an image of Kosarinova's official letter offering for a gay-pride parade to be staged in nearby Yablonevy rather than within Novoulyanovsk's city center.

Kosarinova's letter said: "Taking into account the population's negative attitude about these kinds of events, and in order to avoid conflicts and a possible violation of the Russian law...we offer you to change the place of the public event and hold it in Yablonevy settlement."

Kosarinova's letter referred to Russia's internationally criticized 2013 law prohibiting "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors."

Russian authorities cite the law as grounds for refusing to allow gay-pride parades.

With reporting by Dozhd, Interfax, and Ulyanovskiye Novosti