Vladimir Putin's party United Russia has unveiled a new flag designed to combat so-called "gay fever" just weeks after the US supreme court ruled that same-sex marriage has been legalised across the country.
Weeks before the announcement, officials were campaigning to ban the rainbow flag despite complaints from LGBT rights groups. Russia's Deputy head Andrey Lisovenko described the new "straight flag" as "in no way offensive".
The logo in dispute features a family holding hands which is made up of a mother, father and three children. It also has a hashtag reading #realfamilies.
The launch of the flag saw groups of both young and old waving the "straight" mascot, while the Moscow branch of United Russia branch proclaimed: "It honors the nuclear family and traditional Russian values".
A Stonewall spokesperson said: "A #realfamily is not determined by sexual orientation or gender identity, but love.
"That sentiment is certainly missing from this flag as is, in our opinion, a splash more colour. It’s also another example of how much work we still have left to do to combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attitudes and behaviours."
And Young Labour's National LGBT officer Jack Falkingham said: "This 'straight pride' flag may be just a pathetic attempt by some to cling on to the bigoted chapters of history.
"However it reminds us that whilst progress is being made and equality enshrined in many parts of the world, the fight for LGBT rights [in Russia] is ongoing."
Others flocked to Twitter to voice their disgust:
@eve_hartley It is blatant straight propaganda and an intentional attack on LGBT people and families— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) July 9, 2015
Russia just unveiled a Straight Pride flag. SMH so hard pic.twitter.com/6cNY3UpdBX— Sam Wright (@samwrighttt) July 8, 2015
Russia unveiled a "straight pride" flag and I'm really hoping it's just Putin shirtless.— ELIEL CRUZ (@elielcruz) July 8, 2015
NUS LGBT Officer Robbiie Young said: "Having a 'straight pride' flag undermines the whole premise of the (LGBT) movement and does not recognise that oppression based on sexuality is something that has and is being fought.
"Structural oppression does not affect people for being straight and it is the norm in most of society."
Useful websites and helplines:
- London Lesbian & Gay switchboard (LLGS) is a free confidential support & information helpline for LGBT communities throughout the UK | 0300 330 0630
- Manchester Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is a free support, information and referral service for the Manchester and North-West area | 0161 235 8000
- Stonewall for more information on other LGBT services and helplines | 08000 502020