Police in a city north of Moscow have filed administrative charges against a man who posted a photograph online of graffiti calling President Vladimir Putin an anti-gay slur.
Kirill Potupnikov of Yaroslavl snapped a picture of the phrase which translates as “Putin is a f–” spray-painted on the local police building in late March. Two local news websites that covered the story were temporarily blocked and several others self-censored the stories from their websites under the reported threat of being blocked.
On Tuesday, Poputnikov posted a photograph of the police report, which says that he had shared the photo on Facebook “realizing the wrongfulness of his actions and understanding the indecent meaning of the offensive word.”
“The specified photo with the offensive inscription was illegally distributed by Poputnikov on the internet, was freely available, was viewed by a significant number of people and was also distributed on a large number of internet resources,” the police report reads.
The offensive word in question “doesn’t exist in the Russian language,” according to a linguistic expert who concluded the phrase expresses “blatant disrespect” toward society, the state and government bodies.
The controversial new law criminalizing “blatant disrespect” for state symbols and the authorities carries fines of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.
Russian authorities issued the first guilty verdict under the disrespect law last month. A court in Novgorod region fined Yury Kartyzhev 30,000 rubles ($470) for online posts calling Putin “a fantastic f——” two days after the law went into effect.