MOSCOW — The Swedish embassy in Moscow rejected calls to raise the rainbow flag during Stockholm Pride week, which started Tuesday.
Some 20,000 people signed a petition via Facebook calling for the embassy to fly the flag during Stockholm Pride.
While refusing the petition, Swedish diplomats stressed that they continue to maintain close links with the gay rights movement in Russia.
Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lena Tranberg, defended the embassy’s decision: “There is a praxis we have to follow, and that is that we fly the Swedish flag and none other,” she told daily Svenska Dagbladet.
The increasingly anti-gay climate in Russia and the recently passed law, signed recently by Russian president Vladimir Putin, banning so-called “homosexual propaganda,” is one of themes to be highlighted by Stockholm Pride festival this Friday.
On Monday, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt described the law as “repulsive and “inhuman” in a post on Twitter.
Russia’s embassy in Sweden replied to Bildt’s comments in a written statement, describing his accusations as “false,” claiming that the new law does not infringe on the rights of LGBT individuals.
The embassy’s press attaché Alexander Pashedko referred to Russian society’ having its “own set of moral values” and said that Russia does not “want to create conditions for reverse discrimination, where a small group of citizens are given the right aggressively to market their opinions to children which go against the views held by the dominating majority of Russians.”