Since 2013, Russia has enforced “internet extremism” laws that forbid the dissemination of online content that the government finds offensive. Newly added to that list is an image that depicts Vladimir Putin as, in the words of the Washington Post, “a potentially gay clown.” As such, the above image is now illegal in Russia to share the above photo. It’s not illegal here, though.
This registry of “extremist materials” features the photo at number 4071, and the Post describes it thusly: “a picture of a Putin-like person ’with eyes and lips made up,’ captioned with an implicit anti-gay slur, implying ’the supposed nonstandard sexual orientation of the president of the Russian Federation.’”
Here it is again, should you need a reminder:
Do not distribute it in Russia.
CNN reports that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the photo: “You know how such things might hurt somebody’s feelings, but the President is quite resistant to such obscenity and learned how to not pay attention.”
That much is obvious, what with the 15-day prison sentence and fine of 3,000 rubles that hits anyone in Russia who would venture to go so far as to even retweet the image.
The image’s origins date back to as early as 2011, though it became common among those who would protest Putin’s 2013 “gay propaganda” law, which aims to protect children from the views of those with “nontraditional sexual relations.” Protests often found those arguing in favor of gay rights to be beaten or arrested.
Of course, there are plenty of other memes out there that might offend people who can’t bear the thought of Putin being associated with “nontraditional sexual relations.” Here’s a few below:
And, again, here’s the banned image. Please don’t share it.