Chicago, IL -
Russia's foremost gay leader, Nikolai Alekseev, begins a seven U.S. city tour in Chicago this Saturday to generate international exposure for Moscow's gay pride events in an effort to forestall threatened repression by Russian authorities.
For the last six years, gay and lesbian activists in Russia have faced beatings, government bans, intimidation and arrests. Despite a European Court's ruling on human rights violations by Moscow authorities the city's new mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, vows a crackdown against gay activists and promises to ban the Pride demonstration.
Alekseev will kick off the tour this Saturday, Feb. 26 with a 2 p.m. event at the Merlo Public Library, 644 W. Belmont Ave. He will be joined by Andy Thayer of Chicago's Gay Liberation Network
, which is the national sponsor of the tour. Alekseev will present the U.S. premiere of a short film documenting the history of Moscow Pride.
The Russian government has appealed the European court decision that ruled Russia had violated Russian LGBT's rights to assemble. The court is expected to reject the appeal which would mean Russian authorities could be confronted with a difficult decision - one that could jeopardize ties to Western Europe.
The final ruling is expected before GayRussia's Moscow Pride 2011 event on May 28.
Other cities in the U.S. tour from Feb. 26 - March 7 are New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and San Francisco.
For more information visit www.gayliberation.net