Russian gay rights activists are denouncing the planned closure of Moscow's oldest gay club.

The city has ordered the club shut down by Nov. 15 for reasons of immorality.

Nikolai Alexeyev, the leader of Russia's gay rights movement, describes the decision as a crude attempt at populism and a violation of human rights.

Alexeyev was joined at Tuesday's news conference by several Russian musicians, which he said was a historic breakthrough in the struggle for gay rights in Russia.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has blocked attempts to hold a gay pride march in Moscow and has labeled gays "weapons of mass destruction."

Alexeyev called on visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to denounce endemic homophobia in Russia.