Ikea has taken an article about a lesbian couple out of the Russian version of its customer magazine, after it feared it would fall foul of the country’s egregious ‘homosexual propaganda’ laws.

The article, which features British couple Clara and Kirsty, talks about their life in Dorset and raising their children. It appears in 25 countries worldwide, but not in Russia, where it was replaced with another article that was less likely to upset the precious Russian sensibilities.

Gay rights activists in Sweden have said the company is ‘cowardly’. Ulrika Westerlund, chair of the Swedish Federation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, told English language website The Local: ‘I find it disappointing that Ikea has simply laid down flat.

‘No one is really sure what “propaganda” is, and if Ikea had left the article in, that could have served as a test case.’

Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson confirmed the removal of the article, commenting to the Aftonbladet newspaper: ‘We have two guiding principles in the communication we distribute from Ikea. The first is home interior design. The second is following the law.’

She explained the decision was taken jointly by staff in Russia and Sweden in an attempt to ‘remain neutral’, adding: ‘We think that our operations in Russia can, in the long run, have a positive effect on society.’

You can read the full article that was set to upset the Russians so much at Scribd.