Russia has banned its citizens from sharing a digitally altered picture of President Vladimir Putin, in which it has been made to look like he's wearing makeup, saying that it suggests Putin is gay.
You would think the country has bigger things to worry about than the picture but apparently not. It's been added to a list of 'extremist materials', which so far includes over 4000 images, that are illegal to share.
The Washington Post reported that the Russian Ministry of Justice said: "Item 4071: a picture of a Putin-like person /with eyes and lips made up,captioned with an implicit anti-gay slur, implying 'the supposed nonstandard sexual orientation of the president of the Russian Federation."
However, now the Russian media is having a bit of a hard time trying to communicate which image is banned, because they're not allowed to print it.
I am not in Russia, so I am free to post any such images. The general consensus is that it is this image:
This particular bit of Photoshopping became popular all the way back in 2013 after Russia brought in a law banning 'gay propaganda'. Protests broke out around the world and a bunch of people put Putin in makeup.
But it might also be this one:
I mean, there are so many pictures of Putin wearing makeup I don't know which it is. Take your pick:
While, I'm taking the piss here, it is actually a serious matter. In Russia, people can be slapped with a prison sentence for sharing any banned images or posts online.
According to Radio Free Europe, the ban is following Russia's
ruling on the criminal case of Aleksandr Tsvetkor, who was accused of sharing
hate speech by posting gay Putin memes on a social networking site. He was also
charged over other images which were 'openly racist'. Tsvetkov was placed into psychiatric
care. So, yeah, maybe don't share these images if you're in Russia.
Featured Image Credit: PA