Not content with annexing Ukraine, outlawing "gay propaganda" and censoring popular bloggers, Vladimir Putin has decided to crack down on Russians even further by making it illegal for swear words to appear in films, television broadcasts, theatres and the media.
The law is a regressive throwback to the Soviet era and the days of Socialist Realism, when all art was had to be state sanctioned or approved. According to state agency ITAR-Tass, individuals can be fined up to £40, and organisations up to £1,000. However, there's no actual list of prohibited words – meaning that should a potentially forbidden word make its way into the world, it'll have to be taken to a panel to decide whether or not a fine should be handed out.
Any books, media or music that contain obsenities must carry a warning on the front, although the new legislation does not affect cultural works that have already been issued and only applies to new works. Businesses that fail to warn customers adequately can also face punishments. The law could come into effect as early as 1 July.
The Russian leader's move mirrors Turkish prime minister Tayyip Recip Erdogan's zero tolerance attitude to free speech. A Turkish court recently handed down a 10 month suspended sentence to a journalist who insulted Erdogan on Twitter.
Oleg Kashin, a prominent Russian journalist, told the Guardian that the legislation was more of a show of political power as opposed to an earnest attempt to clean up the country's language.
"This new law won't change anything," he said, "it's more a symbolic thing to show the so-called imagined 'simple Russian people' that the creative classes can't live without swearing. It's a symbolic gesture to show that Putin and United Russia are protecting the people's traditions."
If you feel like flouting those traditions anytime, have a look at this Russian swearing tutorial below:
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