The developers of Romance Club, a choice-based mobile game, have decided to remove the app from all Russian platforms rather than comply with demands to cut LGBTQ+ content. 

This decision made by the app’s creators to remove the app altogether on Monday follows a request from Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media watchdog, to eliminate all content depicting same-sex relationships from the app.

In a statement on their Telegram channel, the app’s team expressed, “Our company values and the very nature of stories that promote diversity, inclusion, and the freedom to be who you are prevented us from removing this content.” They described their decision to withdraw the app from Russian platforms as “gut-wrenching.”


Your Story Interactive, the Moldova-based independent mobile game studio behind Romance Club, confirmed that they would continue to release Russian content and support Russian-speaking users in other countries despite the app’s removal from Russian platforms.

Due to the inclusion of LGBTQ+ content, which has been classified as “extremist” by Russian authorities since November, Roskomnadzor listed the game’s webpage in the Russian versions of Apple’s App Store and Google Play as a “prohibited website” in May.

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

This ruling has led to increased censorship of LGBT content and a crackdown on queer activists and venues in Russia. In early June, the popular language learning app Duolingo removed all LGBT-related content from its Russian platform following a complaint from a “traditional values” advocacy group.