Gay Russians are to be allowed to donate blood, the country’s Ministry of Health has revealed.

The department reacted to campaigning from GayRussia activists Nikolai Alexeseev and Nikolai Baev.

Mr Alexeseev said: “The General Prosecutor recognised that there is nothing in the law which prevent gays to donate their blood. As a result, his office has asked the Ministry of Heath to cancel its instruction made in 2001 which forbid gays to give their blood.”

Gay people were initially forbidden from being donors and were viewed as high risk groups along with drug addicts and prostitutes.

Mr Baev said: “The Ministry of health has informed us that this instruction will be shortly amended and gays will not be forbidden anymore to give their blood.

“A symbolical discrimination will end. This is probably the first positive news for gays from Russian justice since 1993 with the decriminalisation of male homosexuality.”

However, the group refused to attribute the decision to the central government, still reeling over their lack of support during last May’s Moscow Gay Pride.

The announcement follows similar plans in France and Australia as well as protests in America and the UK.