Moscow’s biggest gay club Body & Soul was this week evicted from their premises following a sustained campaign against the club’s ‘moral degradation’ by media tycoon turned local politician Oleg Mitvol.
The massive suburban split level club opened in 2003 and rapidly pulled over 2,000 clubbers a night, drawn by its’ mix of international DJs, drag revues, go go boys dancing on bars and men-only dark rooms. Its troubles started in earnest last July when Mitvol was appointed Prefect of Moscow’s northern district by Yuri Luzhkov, Moscow’s notoriously homophobic Mayor who famously branded gays ‘Satanic’ when banning gay pride marches in the city in 2006.
Launching a ‘morality campaign’ against gay clubs and ‘love hotels’, Mitvol personally led a police raid on Body & Soul in August which was supported the next day by scores of religious extremists who picketed the club carrying placards declaring ‘’Moscow is Not Sodom’ and ‘Russian against homosexuals’.
News of Body & Soul’s eviction emerged just as the European Court of Human Rights granted an extension to Russian authorities to defend their ban on gay pride demonstrations prompting a cynical response from Pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev.
“All these years, we have been paying the price of the workload of the Court due until recently to the blocking of the reform of the Court by Russia,” said Mr Alekseev.
“Now that the Court finally opened our cases, we are paying the price of the workload of the Russian mission in Strasbourg. Will this ever end?"
“It is now unlikely that we get a decision in time for our next Pride on May 29,” he added.
Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)