Russian Federation bans picture of Vladimir Putin as a gay clown

A list of "extremist" materials banned by the Russian justice ministry recently got its 4,071st entry: a Photoshopped image of Vladimir Putin wearing makeup, the Guardian reports.

As noted by the Russian website TJ Journal, the first news organization to flag the Justice Ministry's designation, numerous such images of Putin have circulated on the Internet for years.

The "gay propaganda" law, which bans the promotion of homosexuality to minors, was criticized as state-sponsored homophobia and a sop to extreme a conservative constituency.

President Putin "regards the strikes as aggression against a sovereign nation", Russian state media reported via Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, adding that the strike violated global laws and would deal "significant damage to US-Russian ties, which are already in a deplorable state". Of course, it wasn't banned for being blatantly homophobic but for implying Putin is himself gay, as it "hints at the Russian president's allegedly nonstandard sexual orientation", according to court records. The image was published on social media by a user called A V Tsvetkov. And Russia's Internet censor has long allowed public figures to file court complaints if they run across a meme that misrepresents their "personality". Human rights groups and activists widely condemned the discrimination, and protests around the world featured images of Putin in makeup.

The flamboyant addition to the index of internet extremism comes in the wake of over 100 men getting rounded up in the semi-independent southern Russian Federation state of Chechnya in an anti-gay purge over the last two weeks.

Tsvetkov was released from criminal liability under the country's hate speech ban but sentenced to compulsory psychiatric care.

  • Leroy Wright