The ruling United Russia party unveiled a 'straight flag' in the capital Moscow on 8 July, in a bid to counteract the rainbow flag widely used around the world as a symbol of gay pride and LGBT rights.

The Moscow branch of President Vladimir Putin's party announced the official introduction of the flag to mark the country's annual Day of Family, Love and Fidelity. The group claims the flag is intended to honour the nuclear family and traditional Russian values.

The flag itself comes primarily in the colours of the Russian flag and features the silhouette of a man, woman and three children and bears the hashtag 'RealFamily' in Russian.

Deputy head of Moscow's United Russia branch Andrey Lisovenko said the flag was not confrontational in any way.

"There is no confrontation here. We are speaking of the traditional family, you can see there are a lot of children here, many elderly, young people, people on bicycles and rollerblades. We mean the average, standard Russian family that is ours. As you saw illustrated in the logo – mother, father and three children," said Lisovenko.

But earlier in the day Russian media organisation Izvestia published comments by Lisovenko in which he stated that United Russia's decision to introduce the flag was a "response to same-sex marriage, to the mockery of the concept of the family" and was a warning "against gay-fever".

Lisovenko has also been reported in Russian media as campaigning to ban use of the rainbow flag within Russia, including online and on social media.

A 2013 law against gay "propaganda" sparked an outcry among Russian rights activists and in the West. But partly reflecting the influence of the Orthodox church, many Russians back the law or have negative feelings toward homosexuals.