In Russia, You Can’t Even Advocate for ‘Blasphemers’

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.

13 comments on this post.
  1. imrryr:

    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.

    Violent criminals can rest a little easier knowing that the police are wasting their time on shit like this.

  2. Gregory in Seattle:

    God doesn’t seem to be amused at these new laws: He sent a meteor to warn Moscow to knock it off (and, with His typically bad aim, it ended up over Siberia.)

  3. laurentweppe:

    They’re actually running sting operations to catch people who support other people who dared to offend the delicate sensibilities of Christians

    Except Pussy Riot did nothing to offend the sensibilities of christians: they offended the delicate sensibilities of the Putin Regime, which now cowardly hide behind religion.

  4. busterggi:

    Christian Sharia at its finest – this is what fundies would love to do here in the US despite their denials.

  5. Marcus Ranum:

    Forward, into the past!

  6. TxSkeptic:

    Here’s our chance to push secularism/atheism.
    In the 50′s, the push for christian nationalism in the country was because of the damn atheist commie Russians. We need a push for atheist nationalism and to start ranting about the damn christian commie Russians.

  7. Raging Bee:

    How many people’s sensibilities would be offended if women wore those Pussy Riot T-shirts at the Western Wall in Jerusalem? In men’s sizes?

  8. plutosdad:

    Next thing you know their lawyers will probably be thrown in jail too, if advocating in any form for someone that offended the church is illegal.

  9. raven:

    Creepy.

    True. I’m actually speechless about all this.

    Russia has jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

    They never did really get this democracy thing. Putin is recreating the Czars. A totalitarian state backed up by the power of the Russian Orthodox church. I’m sure the US fundies are taking notes and cheering them on.

  10. oranje:

    @Raging Bee #7: Add in a thought bubble saying “I love the Dalai Lama” next to a depiction of Mohammed, and I think you’ve got a majority of the world’s population covered there. Maybe chuck in something about gun control and birth certificates just to be sure.

  11. baal:

    “atheist nationalism” – Baal runs screaming from the room.

    As much as I argue that we need to drop all (yes all) identity politics (fundamentalist irrationality) by identifying our “self”s with broader in-groups, nationality isn’t a particularly good choice either. Nationalisms end poorly in every example I can think of.

  12. =8)-DX:

    @baal “atheist nationalism”
    Yes! And what has irked me personally most of all is that nationalism just doesn’t make sense. What is a “nation”? People with shared customs and history? We’re all just humans and promoting various cultures has plenty of value. But I see no reason why one person can’t participate in and be part of multiple cultures at the same time, and I don’t see why having a frickin’ national identity makes you one iota better than anyone else.

    Nationalism (like racism and religion) is based on flawed tribal thinking. It’s just nonsense, albeit perhaprs useful nonsense for certain people in certain times.

  13. TxSkeptic:

    @baal & =8)-dx-wtf, The nationalist part was a bit tongue in cheek, but you see the see the flip of the coin don’t you? The knucklehead tribalists are so set on anti not-us, that we could actually use it to some advantage when the not-us is becoming uber-religious. It doesn’t work very well when the not-us is not-christian (ie Islam), but if the not-us is also christian, then where can the not-us knuckleheads go? To atheism? Once there, then the rationalist approach has a chance to change them from tribalists into humanists.

    pinch me when you’re done, i”ll wake up from my delusional state.

Leave a comment

You must be