Gay Putin Pic is Banned by Russian Court, Listed as 'Extremist Material'

Court records say the fact Mr Putin's makeup "hints at the Russian president's allegedly nonstandard sexual orientation" was a major factor in the decision. Plus, it labeled the photo and 4,073 other images as "extremist" materials.

The Russian leader has been the target of protests both in and out of Russia ever since he launched a brutal crackdown on gays and lesbians.

The Justice Ministry was acting on a court ruling by the Central Regional Court of Tver which banned a number of images posted to social media by A. V. Tsvetkov.

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Russian Federation has added a digitally altered image of President Vladimir Putin in heavy makeup to its list of banned extremist materials, saying the picture suggests Putin is gay.

Putin has also been denounced for signing laws that his liberal opponents call openly homophobic, including a 2013 law that bans the spreading of "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" among minors.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's press secretary, told the state-run news agency Tass that he had not seen the image.

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The ministry's ban follows a verdict reached past year by the Central Regional Court of Tver, which banned the "gay Putin" image and several other pictures published on Vkontakte by Tsvetkov.

The image is now included in the Russian Justice Ministry's list of banned "extremist materials", after the results of a 2016 court case.

Do not post this picture, which Putin hates. By 2015, the government began cracking down on websites of Putin critics, restricting even anonymous blogs. VKontakte users are still posting it. The announcement was in response to a lawsuit by Russian singer Valeri Syutkin, who sued the Vkontakte social media platform over a meme that put another another artist's lyrics over his picture.

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