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Probin’ Pronin

Moscow’s police chief Vladimir Pronin makes a public statement somewhat beyond the usual brief of police officiers:

It’s unacceptable, gay pride parades shouldn’t be allowed. No one will dare to do it, such “brave-heart” will be torn to shreds…Our country is patriarchal, that’s sums it up…I positively agree with the Church, with the Patriarch, politicians, especially with [Mayor] Luzhkov, who are convinced that man and woman should love each other. It is established by God and nature.

The is not the first time that Pronin has made a priority of speaking out on the subject; in 2007 he wrote to Luzhkov that

“Representatives of public, Russian Orthodox Church and other religious beliefs are against the conduct of the gay parade which is propagating relations contradictory to the norms of morality and unacceptable for the society,” he says in his letter to the mayor.

He then goes on to say: “Units of GUVD in Moscow are constantly controlling mass public actions in the city, monitoring media and Internet with the aim to take measures of preventive character and non-admission of illegal actions on the part of representatives of sexual minorities.”

Mr. Pronin then says that he estimates that 120 extra personnel from militia regiments and the OMON will be needed each day to prevent any illegal demonstrations during the Gay Pride.

Moscow was lucky that Pronin had the resources for such vigilance – in 2003, he had explained that crime was increasing due to a shortage of police officiers.

On the other hand, there’s no problem with the far right holding a rally in the city; as was reported last year:

At a rally of about 400 far-right nationalists in Moscow’s Triumph Square on April 19, speakers called for the murder of various government officials, praised terrorist methods, and demonized Jews, according to the national daily “Kommersant” dated April 21…Rally participants included members of the National Great Power Party of Russia, the Union of Orthodox Standard Bearers, and the neo-Nazi Slavic Union (“SS” in its Russian abbreviation). They held signs condemning “Jewish fascism” and the “Jewish mafia” and calling on Slavic women to “guard the purity of your race.” Speakers called for the release of Vladimir Kvachkov who was sentenced to prison for his role in an assassination plot against a government official, an ethnic Jew.

Olga Kasyanenko of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration called on Russians to “Arm yourself! Defend your families!” and concluded with the ultranationalist slogan “Russia for the Russians!” Another speaker called for nationalists to prepare for war. Leonid Simonovich, head of the Union of Orthodox Standard Bearers, read a poem envisioning the murder of several government officials through a terrorist bombing campaign. Nikolai Kuryanovich, a former State Duma deputy, also addressed the rally that blatantly violated Russia’s laws against extremist activity by calling for the overthrow the constitutional structure of the state, and inciting ethnic hatred. Nevertheless, police reportedly did nothing in response.

(I blogged the Union of Orthodox Standard Bearers – and Simonovich’s toy-monkey impaling antics – here)

Pronin’s response? Here:

…chief of police Vladimir Pronin denied that there is an organized neo-Nazi movement in Moscow, according to an April 10, 2008 report by the Russian Jewish web site Jewish.ru. Speaking on TVTs television on Tuesday, Mr. Pronin said that, “There is no organized skinhead movement in Moscow, there are just individual excesses.” He added that in the first two months of the year, Moscow police registered around 60 crimes motivated by extremism, and that prosecutors opened three hate crimes investigations. As usual, he tempered these numbers by emphasizing that foreign citizens are more likely to commit crimes than Russian citizens, according to police statistics.

And while Pronin has time to issue statements warning about teh gay, we see rather less vigour in tracking down those responsible for killing journalists and lawyers; as was reported in January:

Rights activists have compared Monday’s murder of Stanislav Markelov to the 2006 slaying of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. They fear the investigation into his killing, like many others involving victims who have pressed to hold authorities accountable for their actions, will hit a dead end.

…Moscow police chief Vladimir Pronin told a news conference on Wednesday that authorities had little evidence. “All the investigation has to go on is the data from video cameras,” Pronin said, Interfax reported

After the 2004 shooting of American journalist and Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov, Pronin was alleged to have made comments (later denied) following the arrest of a couple of Chechens, leading to a rebuke from the chief prosecutor. Pronin has also spoken against a recent call for journalists to be given guns to protect themselves:

“I don’t think we need to give journalists weapons. Law enforcement agencies must ensure their safety,” Vladimir Pronin told RIA Novosti.

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