"If they come out on to the streets anyway they should be flogged. Any normal person would do that - Muslims and Orthodox Christians alike ... [The protests] might be even more intense than protests abroad against those controversial cartoons."Ah, so the cartoon violence is to work as general threat to suppress all sorts of behavior. Religious fanatics with no power to force others to adopt their religion use violence and threats of violence to force others to behave as if they were followers of that religion.
The mayor's spokesman, Sergei Tsoi, defended the city's decision on the ground that the idea of a gay rights parade has "caused outrage in society." So the power of government is harnessed by the mere expression of outrage and a reminder of how badly your co-religionists behaved over those cartoons.
UPDATE: More commentary on this news story from Andrew Sullivan ("further appeasement of these religious terrorists is counter-productive - and actually enables the extremists in their simultaneous intimidation of moderate Muslims") and Eugene Volokh ("Russian society is quite hostile to gays... The nastiness can't be laid entirely at the feet of parts of the Russian Muslim community").
CORRECTION MADE: Sergei Tsoi is the mayor's spokesman, not the mayor.