Swedish furniture giant Ikea announced Friday it will shut down its online lifestyle magazine in Russia, fearing violation of a controversial law that prohibits promoting gay values to minors. The company said that some articles in the magazine Ikea Family Live could be seen by Russian authorities as “propaganda,” the BBC reported.
Ikea has not yet received any official warnings related to the law banning gay "propaganda," but if a violation is found, the company can be told to pay a fine of up to 1 million rubles ($16,261) or halt its operations in the country for 90 days, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
"When we do business, we observe the legislation of the countries where we work, therefore to avoid violations, we have taken the decision to stop publishing the magazine in Russia," Ikea said in a statement, according to AFP, adding: "We also consider our readers have the right to decide for themselves, what publications might be interesting or worthwhile for them."
The magazine is published in 25 countries and "shows different aspects of people's lives at home, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and religion," the BBC reported. Russian authorities have reportedly not yet commented on the move.
The Russian law, which was approved in 2013, bans promotion of "non-traditional sexual relations to minors," but does not specify what constitutes “promotion,” the Moscow Times reported. The law has drawn criticism from several rights groups, who claim it has been introduced to ban gay rights' events in the country. However, Russia denies such claims.
In 2013, the Russian edition of the magazine reportedly deleted an article about a British lesbian couple, drawing criticism from gay rights activists. The magazine had also been rebuked for removing photographs of women from its Saudi Arabian catalogue.
Last year, several public figures called to boycott the Sochi Games amid anti-gay laws, which can draw a jail term of up to 15 days. Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's statements asserting that gay athletes were welcome in the event, the laws were internationally condemned.