A Kremlin flag expert has assured a concerned resident of Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Oblast that the region’s flag does not violate the country’s gay propaganda ban.

The anonymous resident had noticed a similarity between the Jewish flag, which features seven colours on a white background, and the gay pride flag, and wanted to make sure it was not breaking federal laws.

Official Kremlin advisor Georgy Vilinbakhov wrote an official response that was published on Russian website EAOMedia.ru in which he explained that pride flags normally added “other labels and images”.

“Regarding the similarity of this flag with the symbol of the gay movement, we explain that not every rainbow image is linked to sexual orientation”, he explained.
“This flag does not contradict the current law of the Russian Federation and so there is no basis to cancel or change it.”

The flag’s designer Alexander Valyaev also defended flag, stating “the gay flag is six colours, not seven, as it should be in the rainbow”, adding that the rainbow was a “divine symbol” taken from the bible.

Germany last month debuted its Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics uniforms, the rainbow design of which has prompted many to speculate whether they are meant as a silent protest against Russian anti-gay laws.

In September, Putin denied that the LGBT community faces discrimination in Russia, saying that controversial anti-gay laws do not infringe the rights of sexual minorities.

He insisted that the legislation only bans the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors,” and argued that there was “no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities.”

The Russian President signed the widely-condemned legislation into law in June. It has caused an international outcry, particularly because the 2014 Winter Olympics is set to take place in Sochi in February. This caused calls for a boycott of the Olympics, and of Russian vodkas.