Russia: Image of Putin in Makeup Is Illegal

But it's unclear exactly which of many such images is banned
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2017 12:24 PM CDT
Sharing an image of Vladimir Putin in makeup is now punishable by prison time in Russia.   (Twitter)

(Newser) – 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. According to CNN, a simple retweet of the image could net the sharer 15 days in prison or a $53 fine. But there's a bit of a hitch. The "Putin gay clown meme" has been getting increasingly popular in recent years, and it's unclear exactly which image is now banned by the Russian government. The government describes the banned image as showing Putin "with eyes and lips made up" to depict "the supposed nonstandard sexual orientation of the president," the Washington Post reports.

Since Russia passed a law banning public discussion of gay rights or relationships, there hasn't been a shortage of such images online. Even Russian news organizations can't seem to agree on exactly which image of Putin as a "potentially gay clown" is officially banned. Despite taking the time to ban the image, the Kremlin's press secretary says these kinds of things don't hurt Putin's feelings as they would a normal person, adding that the Russian president is "quite resilient to these vulgarities." (Read more Vladimir Putin stories.)

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