The infamous image of Russia’s Vladimir Putin portrayed as gay has been banned by a Russian court and is now listed as “extremist material”.
The hilarious photoshopped photograph of Putin in heavy make up, with red lipstick and fake eyelashes, which a man named A. V. Tsvetkov originally uploaded to the Russian social network Vkontakte back in 2014, was deemed extremist. The photo caption reads: “They say there are many of them, but there aren’t any among the people I know,” suggesting that Putin is not straight.
The image and caption is a serious crime now. Last week, the Justice Ministry formally added this “gay image” of Putin to its federal list of banned extremist materials. And according to Russian law, sharing extremist materials, now 4,074 entries long, is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The Justice Ministry reportedly acted in response to a verdict of a Russian court, which banned the image on May 11, 2016. According to a court document, the image was created and uploaded by Tsvetkov in 2014 along with other 10 images which were also ruled illegal by the court.
Court records say that the image of Putin in heavy make up “hints at the Russian president’s allegedly nonstandard sexual orientation.” It concluded that the image was aimed at degrading an individual’s dignity.
Among other images that Tsvetkov shared online and that were banned by the court is the image of Putin with Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev and Russia’s Patriarch Kirill in Nazi uniforms.
Tsvetkov was reportedly locked up in a detention center while the judge held the hearing. The court released him from any criminal liability but ordered him to receive compulsory psychiatric care.
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