UK, Canadian And US Embassies Fly Pride Flag In Russia, Defying Putin’s ‘Gay Propaganda’ Law




The U.S., British and Canadian embassies in Russia on Friday hoisted rainbow Pride flags on their buildings in Moscow, defying the country’s “gay propaganda” law signed by Vladimir Putin in 2013.

The law bans the “promotion” of “non-traditional sexual relationships”. Anyone found guilty under the law can be sentenced to heavy fines or up to 15 years in prison.

In a joint statement with colleagues from Australia, Iceland and New Zealand, the Western diplomats said the actions affirm the countries’ “commitment to protecting the human rights of all individuals, including #LGBTI+ persons.”




“Unfortunately, LGBTI+ individuals throughout the world continue to face violence, harassment and discrimination simply because of who they are,” the statement reads. “And law enforcement authorities often turn a blind eye to the hate speech and hate crimes that are still prevalent in many countries.”

The embassies in Moscow posted photos of their Pride flags to social media, with the US embassy in Russia spokesperson Jason Rebholz writing: “Today the US Embassy in Russia honours LGBT+ rights during the Pride Flag Day celebration. LGBT+ rights are human rights. Human rights are universal. Everyone deserves to live a life free from hatred, prejudice, and persecution.”

The U.S. Embassy’s Twitter shared a photo showing newly returned Ambassador John Sullivan hoisting the rainbow flag and writing in the tweet: “Today the US Embassy in Russia honours LGBT+ rights during the Pride Flag Day celebration. LGBT+ rights are human rights. Human rights are universal. Everyone deserves to live a life free from hatred, prejudice, and persecution.”

The Canadian Embassy’s account also showed diplomatic staff posing in front of theirs.

“No one should face violence or discrimination for being who they are,” the Canadian Embassy in Moscow tweeted.

The British Embassy in Moscow added: “Today we raised the LGBT+ flag over the embassy.

“We support the rights and freedoms of the LGBT+ community and oppose any discrimination. Every person deserves to be treated with respect.”

The Kremlin, which last year decried the rainbow flag displays on embassy buildings as illegal under Russian law, has not yet commented on the LGBT flag sightings Friday.

Displays of the rainbow flag are uncommon in Russia, where “homosexual propaganda toward minors” was outlawed in 2013 and intolerant attitudes toward the LGBT community persist.