On April 22, a court in the Novgorod region fined local resident Yuri Kartyzhev 30,000 rubles (about $470) for violating Russia’s new law against insulting state officials. The man was found guilty of sharing two posts on the social network VKontakte where he allegedly wrote “Putin is an unbelievable fuckwit.” Kartyzhev’s sentence marks the first known enforcement of this new curtailment of free speech.
In posts on VKontakte, Kartyzhev constantly criticizes the Russian government. Based on the evidence in his case (copies of which Meduzahas obtained), Kartyzhev was at home on March 31 when he shared two videos about the Russian authorities, one about Moscow deciding to send $30 million in foreign aid to Kyrgyzstan and the other about a survey of the political party United Russia’s popularity in Kostroma. According to screenshots of both VKontakte posts, Kartyzhev added the comment “Putin is an unbelievable fuckwit” to each video.
Kartyzhev told Meduza that he did share both videos, but he insists that he never spelled out any full obscenities, writing only: “Putin is an unbelievable f***wit.” He says the police apparently hacked his VKontakte account and edited the posts, so the word “fuckwit” appeared uncensored.
ht/ the big owe