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Russia bans ‘extremist’ image of Putin in makeup

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Russia has banned an altered image of Vladimir Putin in makeup, adding it to a list of forbidden ‘extremist materials’.

The index of illegal materials has just over 4,000 images. The offending pic, used widely for LGBT protests, is described by the Russian Ministry of Justice as “a man resembling the president”, where the makeup “hints at the Russian president’s allegedly nonstandard sexual orientation”.

There’s a few different images of Putin in makeup and drag that have popped up at some of the protests against Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, so it isn’t certain which one in particular the ministry is pointing to. The memes and photoshopped images became popular after Russia passed the law that banned ‘LGBT propaganda’ in 2013.

As the Guardian reports, this new ban on lipsticked Putin came about after a case in Tver’s regional courts in May 2016. AV Tsvetkov was brought to trial after uploading images that showed Putin in makeup, and the president and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Nazi uniforms, as well as other racist and anti-Semitic pictures. These were all banned.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s press secretary, made a statement about the recently banned image. “As a person, he might be stung, but as president he is quite resilient to these vulgarities and has learned to brush them off long ago,” Peskov said, according to the state-run Tass news agency

“Our legislation has, so to say, a certain code defending a citizen’s honour and dignity, including those of the president. Individuals need to be guided by these norms, so unfortunately, I can say nothing,” he added. 

Last month, authorities faced off with anti-corruption protests across Russia, making dozens of arrests.

Despite the ban, images of Putin in drag are still widely circulating the internet.