The police in Barnaul don’t exactly welcome the mockery of religion. Late last month, officials opened felony extremism cases against two local Internet users: a 23-year-old woman who joked about religion and race, and a 19-year-old man who shared a meme about Jon Snow’s resurrection on Game of Thrones.
On August 3, law enforcement went for the hat trick and charged local 38-year-old man Andrey Shashein with extremism for sharing a picture showing Jesus Christ asking Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill for the time. In so many words, Kirill tells the Christian Lord to buzz off.
Despite a lack of concern from experts who reviewed this meme and several others Shashein posted on Vkontakte, and without a court order, Barnaul police have reportedly frozen his bank accounts while they investigate his supposedly criminal Internet behavior.
In 2012, the Russian Orthodox Church’s official website published a photograph that removed Patriarch Kirill’s enormously expensive wristwatch (a Breguet!), but observant Internet users spotted the watch’s reflection in the table at which the Patriarch was seated. The church later apologized for retouching the photo, but the incident has forever haunted the organization as evidence of its apparently unChristian opulence.