Two Arrested at Moscow Gay Club Following Raid by Police, Prefect – and the Media
Campaign against gay clubs supported by politicians and religion
MOSCOW, August 8, 2009 (GayRussia.Ru) – The crusade of Oleg Mitvol, the Prefect of the northern district of Moscow against gay entertainment in the Russian capital reached a new step last night.
Mr. Mitvol, together with the prosecution department, the anti-drug unit and the police raided Club Body & Soul (ex-Chance) at 11pm.
They were accompanied by the Moscow TV Chanel, photographers and a journalist.
The Prefect had declared last week: “I think that such clubs which, in line with casinos, lead to moral degradation of citizens and become the source of trouble, should be closed”.
Officially, last night’s ‘investigation’ was directed at searching for any irregularities in the operation of the club, such as drug and prostitution.
But practically, the investigation started just after the opening of the club while the place was still empty. Local people think that if such investigation was to take place regularly, the gay community could discontinue visiting the club.
The police did not disclose the result of their investigation, but the police arrested two clients after one had a dispute with the Prefect who was preventing them to enter the club.
While in the club, Oleg Mitvol told the accompanying journalist: “The deputy of the Communist Party is protecting the interests of this club. Is it moral?
“I will contact the head of the Communists to understand if this is the position of the party to take part in such business.”
Having a ‘roof’ is a usual way of operating a large business in Moscow to avoid police harassment and administrative troubles.
“If it is confirmed, I would find rather surprising that communists who criminalized male homosexuality and openly spoke against gay rights and gay prides since 2005 in Russia, need to earn money for gays,” Nikolai Alekseev, head of LGBT Human Rights Project GayRussia.ru said tonight.
“Such a ‘double game’ is, unfortunately, a custom in our country where business interests are often higher than politics itself.”
The crusade of Mitvol has found considerable local support in the last few days. A dozen members of both chambers of parliament praised the campaign of Mitvol against the Club Body & Soul.
Last Friday, the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians (Pentecostals) called for a ban on locating gay clubs in the vicinity of social facilities and in residential districts.
“The law should introduce restrictions to locate such facilities in residential districts and within several kilometres from educational, medical, sports and cultural establishments,” the Pentecostals said a statement, published by Interfax.
Currently, Club Body & Soul is the only gay venue in the Russian capital that is threatened with closure.