Information Agencies have been citing remarks made about gays by Yuri Luzhkov during a recent round-table discussion "The Relationship of Russia and the West on the Threshold of the G8."
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov
Yuri Luzhkov expressed his bewilderment about criticism from European countries and the US about gay bashings in Moscow at the end of April, beginning of May 2006. The use of force by Security Forces against the peaceful demarche of a group of Russian and European gay activists on May 27th evoked the indignation of democratic parties in practically every country belonging to the "Big 8."
The West's reaction to the gay bashings Luzhkov described as "the last straw." "My explanation that every city has its own traditions and mindset was unconvincing, in particular, to the Mayors of Paris and Berlin. In the West strong unrest emerged that molded into bans that lie outside the scope of politics," commented Luzhkov as quoted by IA "Novosti."
To all intents and purposes, Luzhkov announced support for the spiritual and cultural isolationism of Russia, declaring that "the basic principle for the development of Russia" should be "complete self-sufficiency in everything." However, at the same time Luzhkov considers it prudent to maintain economic ties with the West. In the Mayor's opinion, to accomplish this it is essential to "develop industries that deal with the extraction and complex refinement of natural resources."
Among Luzhkov's explanations for his decision to prohibit the public demonstration of gays and lesbians in Moscow lurks the support of the Russian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Cyril of Moscow, who also participated in the round-table and who is the main instigator of the Church's homophobic politics, enthusiastically agreed with Luzhkov's arguments.
Translation by Timofey Grishin