"I consider these clubs to be similar to gambling dens conducing moral degradation of the people and being the hotbeds of almost every violence. It must be closed down", declared Oleg Mitvohl - the newly appointed head of the Northern Administrative District (NAD) of the Russian capital - on the official Internet site of NAD’s prefecture. He has also forwarded to the Office of the Prosecutor General of the NAD a demand to exercise necessary measures toward mix-club "Dusha I Telo (Body&Soul)".
"Body and Soul" is considered to be the Moscow’s oldest mix-club. It is also popular with LGBT people. A lot of Russian pop-singers prefer to perform there, among them are Lolita Milyavskaya, "Guests from the Future" (Gosti iz Buduschego), "Tatu", Linda, Aziza and many others. Some time ago it was the most favourable place of Anita Tsoi’s performances.
Oleg Mitvohl demands to close down that club on the grounds of citizens’ appeals - "on the grounds of numerous bills of complaint from the citizens".
The mix-club is located in NAD near "Polezhayevskaya" metro station. It has been functioning for seven years in a row now. The term of rent expires in 2010 only. In an interview for "Komsomolskaya Pravda" Mr. Mitvohl said that he has recently fired several of his employees of the NAD’s prefecture because he had felt their resistance when he had launched a battle with the popular mix-club.
The "Body and Soul" club previously known in 1990’s as the "Chance" has laid the fundamentals of the Russian modern club lifestyle. Many times it has been got at bureaucrats’ sights. Frequenters of the club remember the anti-gay raid of the summer 1998 when squad men in masks armed with automatic machine guns raided the club when there was an anti-drug party in full swing, beating and detaining its visitors and also journalists - Russian and foreign as well, who were attending the "Trainspotting" action there. In 2002 the club was brutally evicted with the use of OMON’s forces from the building of DK "Serp & Molot" in Moscow.
Mass media consider Mitvohl actions as pre-election campaign to the Moscow City Duma later this year. Gazety.Ru cites its well-informed source in the Moscow’s City Hall who has named Mitvohl actions as "pre-election petty intrigue". "Similar calls for closing down of gay clubs in Moscow soon would be heard in the other Moscow’s districts - simply to gain popularity before forthcoming City Duma’s elections".
Translated by Yerdna Bananes