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Putin avoids comment on anti-gay mayor
Russia's president, asked Thursday about the Moscow mayor's shocking description of gay parades as 'Satanic', sidestepped a direct answer, and didn't use the opportunity to critisise the mayor.

Putin told a Kremlin news conference he respects human freedoms, but obliquely joked that issue of sexual minorities is linked to the demographic problem in the country.

"I link this issue to the performance of my duties and one of the main problems in the country - demography," Vladimir Putin told a news conference in the Kremlin, in reply to a question on whether he agreed with Mayor Luzhkov that gay parades are "Satanic."

Quite what that means is anybody's guess, but it sounds like he's been taking lessons at the New Labour School of Circuitous Claptrap.

The cranky 70-year-old mayor, who has been in office since 1992, had said on Monday he would never allow a gay parade to take place in Moscow despite pressure from the West.

Luzhkov said, "Last year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the gay parade, which can be described in no other way than as Satanic. We did not let the parade take place then, and we are not going to allow it in the future."

This is the second time Moscow authorities have banned a gay parade in Moscow. On May 26, 2006, a Moscow district court upheld a Moscow government resolution prohibiting a gay march, which was scheduled for the next day, as opposition to the planned event was strong in Russia, especially from the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious leaders.

About 200 people ignored the ban and took to the streets in a proud protest and to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Russia.

Unfortunately, this brave demonstration was met by vicious anti-gay protestors from the Orothodox church and right-wing skinhead youths. Arrests were made on both sides, but the gay marchers claimed the police allowed homophobic violence to occur unchecked.
Note: No trees were destroyed in the sending of this contaminant free message. However, I do concede, a significant number of electrons may have been inconvenienced.

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