Role-playing mobile app quits Russian platforms after refusing to remove LGBT content — Novaya Gazeta Europe

Role-playing mobile app quits Russian platforms after refusing to remove LGBT content

The developers of Romance Club, a choice-based mobile game, have refused to cut LGBT content from the popular online game and have instead opted to remove the app from all Russian platforms, the app’s creators announced on Monday.

The decision came after Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media watchdog, requested that the app delete all content that features same-sex relationships.

Photo: Romance Club on  X

Photo: Romance Club on X

“Our company values and the very nature of stories that promote diversity, inclusion and the freedom to be who you have prevented us from removing this content,” the app’s team said on their Telegram channel, describing their decision to remove the app from Russian platforms as “gut-wrenching”.

Your Story Interactive, the Moldova-based independent mobile game studio that developed the app, would continue to release content in Russian and to offer support to its Russian-speaking users in other countries despite the decision, the company said.

Citing Romance Club’s inclusion of LGBT content, which since November has been deemed “extremist” by the Russian authorities, Roskomnadzor in May listed the game’s web page in the Russian version of Apple’s App Store and Google Play as a “prohibited website”.

In November, Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that the “international LGBT movement” qualified as an “extremist organisation”, effectively banning it and making pro-LGBT activity punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The ruling prompted the Russian authorities to censor LGBT content and to crack down on queer activists and venues. In early June, Duolingo, a hugely popular language learning app, removed all LGBT-related content from its Russian platform after a complaint from a “traditional values” advocacy group.

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