Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Eurovision 2009: Moscow as Europe's gay capital?

Well, at some point in recent past I did consider the possibility of Eurovision 2009 to be held in Yerevan, picturing it turned into a gay capital of Europe. May be for 2010 or...? In the meantime, it's Moscow's turn for 2009. As soon as the decision by Russian government was announced confirming the choice of Moscow as host for next year's Eurovision song contest, as expected, Russian gay activists were quick to confirm their plans that they will hold Gay Pride the very same day as Eurovision final. In past, Moscow administration headed by homophobe Luzhkov denied all requests for Gay Pride events. There will be pretty tough dilemma before him now, as you can't just easily ban gay related events when thousands of gay men and women across Europe will be in Moscow for the song contest, and millions of TV viewers will follow the action.

Russian Pravda newspaper has already posted a story by RIA Novosti under the headline "Moscow to turn into Europe’s gay capital for Eurovision 2009".

“Now that Prime Minister Putin said that Eurovision 2009 would be held in Moscow, and not St. Petersburg, I am full of compassion to Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. The contest is strongly connected with gay and lesbian organizations of Europe. These organizations hold certain actions every year, within the scope of Eurovision,” a well-known Russian journalist Arthur Gasparyan told RIA Novosti.

“I wonder how Mr. Luzhkov is going to react to this. If he orders the Moscow police to disperse the gay parade, Europe will make a laughing-stock of him. I believe he will have to make a very difficult choice,” the journalist said.

Gasparyan also pointed out further challenges which Russian authorities and tourists may face in Moscow.

“This is not the arrival of a crowd of British football fans in Moscow for a couple of days. The contest will last for at least two weeks. I am not sure how 43 European delegations will travel through Moscow’s traffic jams either,” the journalist said.

He recollected the Olympic Games of 1980 in Moscow, when many Muscovites were ordered to leave the city for the time of the Games. “It is not ruled out that the Moscow authorities will do something ridiculous again,” he said.

To crown it all, the journalist said that Moscow had no appropriate venue, where Eurovision 2009 could be held. “Any of possible variants – Olimpiysky or Luzhniki stadiums – should be reconstructed and repaired immediately,” Arthur Gasparyan said. “If the venues are left the way they are now, it will be the worst Eurovision in history,” the journalist said.

Moscow authorities, however, stated that city is ready for the contest and its participants and tourists will enjoy "the required level of comfort and security". The official reminded the latest Champions League final which took place in Moscow without any incident.

The final of Eurovision song contest will take place on 16 May 2009. Forty-three countries will participate in the contest; number of TV viewers will exceed 100 million people.

It's already known that Greece will be represented by sexy Sakis Rouvas. It will be his second Eurovision entry; in 2004 he finished 3rd. Apparently, Bilan's example was pretty infectious. Sakis certainly will be the one to watch out. I can safely say that we already have one of the main contenders for winning the contest in Moscow. What will be Armenia's answer to this?