Joking about Russian chauvinists could land a St. Petersburg man in compulsory psychiatric care
A man in St. Petersburg faces extremism charges over two reposts on Vkontakte from 2015, when he shared a joke about the impossibility of positive changes after elections and later reposted a cartoon about “vatniki” (militant supporters of Russia’s military actions abroad).
On August 20, prosecutors asked the court to order the man to undergo compulsory psychiatric treatment, citing testimony that his “extremist actions” were the result of mental illness. The suspect’s lawyer is trying to get that expertise thrown out.
In 2017, a court in Saratov convicted a local Internet user of extremism for posting negative comments about vatniki, sentencing him to 160 hours of community service.