A gay air steward for the Russian carrier Aeroflot was forced to marry a woman in order to keep his job, campaigners say.

GayRussia.eu reported that campaigners had filed notice of a demonstration after gay employee Maxim Kupreev suffered unusual kind of discrimination by his employer.

When Kupreev, 25, tried to found a gay support network at the airline, he was seemingly ordered to marry.

The gay steward tied the knot with his school friend Sofia Mikhailova so he could keep his job at the end of last year, reportedly to minimise publicity for his attempted LGBT network.

A protest in Moscow on 9 February is being planned to coincide with the airline’s 89th birthday.

Nikolai Alekseev said: “‘We have already worked out a number of slogans which underline a double meaning of the word “marriage” in Russian which we are going to communicate with the public in the context of Aeroflot’s activities.”

The Russian word брак can mean both ‘marriage’ and ‘defective article’.

Protesters also want Aeroflot excluded from the global airline alliance “Sky Team”, which includes KLM, Air France, Delta and Korean Air among other operators.

Last week, police in the Kaliningrad outpost of Russia reportedly stopped a group of right-wing joggers after being wrongly tipped that they were staging an illegal gay pride parade.

Ria Novosti reported that more than twenty right-wing joggers took to the streets of Sovetsk, a small town in the Baltic exclave, carrying Romanov flags of black, yellow and white emblazoned with the words “Russians choose sport”.

Russian nationalists have used sporting events to promote patriotism and health in the past, but unsanctioned events are often disbanded by authorities. It was not clear who tipped the police off.