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Russian court fines Internet user hundreds of dollars for calling Vladimir Putin an ‘unbelievable fuckwit’
A court in the Novgorod region's Chudovsky District has fined a local man 30,000 rubles ($470) for violating Russia's new law against insulting state officials on the Internet. The defendant, Yuri Kartyzhev, later uploaded a recording of the verdict being read out, where Judge Igor Ivanov says, “On March 31, 2019, at 6:45 p.m., Kartyzhev... shared on the social network VKontakte two notes with text that read ‘Putin is an unbelievable fuckwit,’ along with a graphic image of Russian President [Vladimir] Putin.”
According to human rights legal expert Pavel Chikov, Kartyzhev's case might be the first time Russia's court system has enforced the new law against insulting state officials.
What exactly is this new law? Signed by Putin in mid-March, the legislation entered force on March 29, 2019. It bans any information shared online that is expressed in an “indecent form” and offends the “human dignity” and “public morality,” while demonstrating “obvious disrespect for society, the state, or Russia's official state symbols, Constitution, or state agencies.” Fines range from 30,000 to 100,000 rubles ($470 to $1,570).
Russia's federal censor, Roskomnadzor, recently blocked two news outlets in Yaroslavl for reporting on anti-Putin graffiti painted on the outside of the local Interior Ministry building. In notifications to the two websites, Roskomnadzor cited other media regulations, however.
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