On December 4th, 2008 in the centre of Moscow on Pushkin Square members of "LGBT Rights Russia" and "Free Radicals" Russian Libertarian Movement NGOs participated in gay picket against Rev.Vsevolod Chaplin's initiative to set up a nationwide Orthodox squads.
More than twenty people were among active participants of the gay picket including the representatives of LGBT-community and common straight people. Rainbow flags and posters "No to squads of religious fanatics!", "Archpriest is not a President!", "Chaplin, hands off from gays!", "Chaplin, Moscow is not your parish!" and others were waiving as a symbol of protest against the clercalization of Moscow's streets.
Those picketing seek to attract attention of the public to the fact that the initiative of an anti-gay representative of the Russian Orthodox Church (i.e. Vsevolod Chaplin) is aimed directly against LGBT community and such Orthodox squads are intended mostly to patrol gay and lesbian meeting places. These patrols won't lead to anything but to the outburst of violence on the streets. Moreover, religious minority in such way tries to impose its values, morale and lifestyle on civil majority and those values are far from being democratic and Christian.
Nikolay Baev, one of the members of "Free Radicals" group in an interview for "LGBT News" told that "religious fanatics have already held violence actions towards gays and lesbians". As an example, Mr.Baev told about "Orthodox Georgievtsy" patrolling of the popular meeting place among LGBT people near the Plevna's Heroes Monument in the centre of Moscow two years ago. It led to an affray between gays and members of the Orthodox squad. Moscow's Police was forced to cordon off that territory. "Religious fanatics" for several times attacked an art show "Prohibited Art", in 2006 they arsoned an art gallery and made several raids on gay clubs. Moreover, one of the "Orthodox" squads is likely to be responsible for terror on Cherkizovsky market in the north-eastern part of Moscow".
Nuar Nechaev, the leader of the Russian movement "LGBT Rights", told the mass-media that he did not exclude the possibility of setting up of gay squads for gays' self-protection against those militant clericals. The gay squads are likely to be patrolling gay and lesbian meeting places in the centre of Moscow and territories around gay clubs. He refused to give any detail whether it was the initiative of "LGBT Rights" group or LGBT-community's. "One thing is clear - they try to drive us into corner and get us out of the social life. They try to impose their religious views of one religious confession on us but we are the citizens of a secular state and among us and the whole nation there are representatives of different religious confessions and groups. Earlier there were insulting and intimidating gay community and now a threat of real violence has emerged. If our secular state and the Government refuse to protect its people from religious militant fanatics and even considers to cooperate with them I do not exclude the fact that Russian LGBT community will set up its own gay squads in order to protect what and who that Government refuses to".
Mr. Nechaev has stressed that Chaplin's Orthodox squad initiative to impose public order would provoke civil violence in Moscow. "I doubt if Chaplin was unaware of such consequences, proposing those "Orthodox" squads and I believe that he did that intentionally", summarized the leader of "LGBT Rights".
Translated by Yerdna Bananes