Putin has been called to take action against a Russian ice cream maker accused of spreading homosexual “propaganda” in children with its rainbow packaging.
Ekaterina Lakhova, the chairwoman of the official Women’s Union of Russia, raised the issue in a video conference with president Vladimir Putin.
She claimed the rainbow-striped ice cream made by a company called Chistaya Liniya was “indirectly” promoting homosexuality in children.
“They’re quietly promoting these nice rainbow colours, using nice words, they’re advertising an ice cream called Rainbow,” Lakhova, a former MP, told the Russian president.
“There should be no propaganda, but [the brand advertises its ice cream on] billboards with beautiful rainbow colours.
“Even indirectly, such things make our children accustomed to that colour, to that flag that was hung at this embassy,” Lakhova continued, referencing the US embassy in Moscow which recently raised the flag to celebrate Pride month.
“It would be very good to have a commission to make sure that those values that we enshrined in our constitution were upheld.”
The rainbow as a symbol of LGBT+ Pride is banned as part of Russia’s controversial “gay propaganda” law which forbids any positive depiction of LGBT+ people.
Anyone found guilty of sharing such “propaganda” with minors can be sentenced to heavy fines or up to 15 years in prison.
In the meeting Putin criticised the US embassy staff who flew the rainbow flag, noting that it says “something about those who work there”, but shrugged off Lakhova’s concerns about the colourful ice cream.
“If there are reasons to believe that this is propaganda for values that are not traditional to us, then… it must be managed by society, but not aggressively,” he said.
The ice cream manufacturer appeared puzzled by the row and rejected any association with the LGBT+ community.
“It is a delightfully delicious and high-quality ice cream with various colours based on natural dyes,” the vice president Armen Beniaminov said.
“For us, the rainbow represents the sunshine after rain, the most beautiful natural phenomenon. We don’t see any comparison with the LGBT+ movement or its symbols.”
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