Khabarovsk Mayor Sergey Kravchuk filed a police report against memes mocking him that appeared on the anonymous Telegram channel Vorsin Memes, which shares photo collages depicting local politicians and Alexey Vorsin, the coordinator of anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny’s local headquarters. Police officers have already questioned Vorsin about the memes, but he says he has no connections to the Telegram channel and hadn’t even heard about it before Mayor Kravchuk’s complaint.
Before the mayor filed the police report, Vorsin Memes had just 60 subscribers, but the audience has more than quadrupled since journalists learned about his charges. (At the time of this writing, the channel has 258 members.)
In late March, Vladimir Putin signed amendments to Administrative Code Article 20.1, Section 3, introducing a ban on 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 (roughly $450 to $1,505).