A picture displaying Russian president Vladimir Putin in makeup is banned in Russia, and sharing it could land you in jail.
It’s not clear exactly which image the Russian government is referring to, as it has been banned in the country, but reports suggest the photo shows the Russian leader with painted red lips, long eyelashes and eye shadow, not dissimilar to an Andy Warhol portrait.
The photo is among more than 4,000 ‘extremist materials’ that have been banned by the Justice Ministry in Russia.
The decision to ban the photo was reportedly made when someone uploaded more than a dozen similar images to the Russian social media network Vkontakte.
According to The Moscow Times, the Justice Ministry were acting in response to a court case brought against the man who shared the images. Court records apparently state the image depicting Putin in makeup: ‘hints at the Russian president’s allegedly nonstandard sexual orientation’.
Court documents say the man also shared images of Putin and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev in Nazi uniforms, The Guardian reports.
— The Moscow Times (@MoscowTimes) April 5, 2017
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told the state-run news service Tass Putin has not seen the image, but has become adept at ‘shrugging off’ such things.
As a person, he might be stung, but as president he is quite resilient to these vulgarities and has learned to brush them off long ago
The press secretary said he had not seen the image himself, adding:
I have not seen the documents and I cannot say anything. Actually, our legislation has, so to say, a certain code defending a citizen’s honor and dignity, including those of the president. Individuals need to be guided by these norms, so unfortunately, I can say nothing.
Last month, the Russian parliament passed a law allowing courts to to jail people for online ‘disrespect’ of the government or state officials.
The law will target people who willfully post ‘indecent’ content which displays ‘blatant disrespect for society, the country, Russia’s official state symbols, the constitution, or the authorities’.
Offenders can be fined up to 100,000 roubles (£1,155), while repeat offenders will see fines doubled or receive 15 days imprisonment, according to The Guardian.
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