In what is being described as the biggest gay rights victory in Russia yet, a ban on Pride was declared illegal today (4 April).
The Presidium of Kostroma Regional Court - the highest court in the region - has ruled two rallies held last year in June protesting against the nationwide ‘gay propaganda’ ban should have been allowed to go ahead.
The six judges heard from gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseev as well as the western Russian’s city local government that banned the event.
Lawyers fighting for the ban on gay rights protests claimed the organizers would ‘promote non-traditional sexual relations’.
They also claimed the police would not be able to ensure the safety of all participants in the protests.
But the judges said LGBTI people deserve a right to freedom of expression and protection from discrimination.
Following the announcement, Alekseev announced he would be serving Kostroma with notice of a new Pride and other gay rights events held in public.
Alekseev said: ‘It is our single biggest victory in the framework of the Russian judicial system.
‘And it gives extra weight that the verdict by the Bureau of the regional court - the highest court of the Russian Federation .’
He added: ‘Now I intend to seek compensation from the state of moral and material damages in connection with the violation of human rights caused by prohibitions stated public events.’
The gay rights activist is convinced the entire federal ‘gay propaganda’ ban will one day fall as Russia is incapable of defending the law in the courtroom.
Alekseev added to Gay Star News: ‘There’s a lot of talk and discussion, boycotts and stuff like that, with all this discussion you don’t see all the real legal work that has been done in the last year.
‘This is what really has an effect.’