Free speech appears to be all but dead letter in Russia these days. The Duma is ready to pass stronger laws against causing offense to religious believers, but it already seems to be that not only is blasphemy illegal, so is supporting those who are viewed as blasphemous. One man was convicted of a crime for selling t-shirts to support Pussy Riot.
Novosibirsk artist Artyom Loskutov has filed an appeal against the magistrate court’s verdict to fine him 1,000 rubles ($33.20) for causing religious offence by selling T-shirts in support of punk rock band Pussy Riot, Loskutov told RIA Novosti.
He said he filed the appeal because he believes the verdict wasn’t justified, that his actions cannot be qualified as causing religious offense.
But it shouldn’t matter one bit whether it caused religious offense. Offended? Don’t buy the fucking t-shirts. And get this:
Police officers posing as buyers bought two T-shirts from him. Upon payment, they produced their badges and then filed a report regarding the violation.
They’re actually running sting operations to catch people who support other people who dared to offend the delicate sensibilities of Christians. Creepy.