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Duolingo deletes LGBT references in Russia after warning from Moscow

Duolingo deletes LGBT references in Russia after warning from Moscow
People protesting in New York on May 19 against Russia's designation of the "LGBT movement" as extremist.
PHOTO: Reuters

MOSCOW - Language learning app Duolingo has deleted references in Russia to what Moscow calls "non-traditional sexual relations" after being warned by Russia's communications regulator about publishing LGBT content classed as "extremism".

Russia last year widened restrictions on the promotion of what it calls LGBT propaganda amid a broader crackdown on LGBT rights, which President Vladimir Putin has sought to portray as evidence of moral decay in Western countries.

Roskomnadzor, Russia's communications regulator, had written to Duolingo, warning it against publishing material promoting non-traditional sexual relations and LGBT propaganda.

"We support LGBTQ+ rights and believe in normalizing LGBTQ+ representation in our content," a Duolingo spokesperson said.

"Unfortunately, local laws prohibit us from including certain content in Russia. Duolingo's mission is to expand access to quality education around the world and we're committed to maintaining access to our product everywhere that is legal to do so."

Russia has designated the "LGBT movement" as extremist and those supporting it as terrorists, paving the way for serious criminal cases against LGBT people and their advocates.

"The company Duolingo sent Roskomnadzor a letter in response, in which it confirmed that it had deleted materials promoting non-traditional sexual relations from its training app," Russian news agencies quoted Roskomnadzor as saying on June 4.

Russian courts have issued fines for those that violate its "LGBT propaganda" law, including online film distributors and executives. 

ALSO READ: Top Russian court bans LGBT movement as 'extremist'

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