A digitally altered image showing Vladimir Putin with long eyelashes and full, pink lips has been added to a banned list of “extremist materials” by the Russian Foreign Ministry. The image, which has become a common sight at protests against Russia’s ban on gay “propaganda,” is described as showing the “the supposed nonstandard sexual orientation of the president of the Russian Federation.” In other words, the Kremlin hates it because it makes Putin look gay.
The image’s addition to the list of banned materials, which has more than 4,000 entries, comes nearly a year after a Russian court punished a man for posting a handful of controversial images to VKontakte, a Russian social network. The Moscow Times reports that, last May, a court in Tver banned the image of Putin, along with others showing him in Nazi regalia. It also ordered the man who posted the images to receive psychiatric care.
The Guardian says the ban hasn’t worked yet. VKontakte users are still posting it. And they’re not alone. In a show of solidarity for Russians whose right to goof on their chief executive has been infringed upon, Twitter users around the world are picking up the slack.