Oh, hey, remember how Vladimir Putin and his thugs control everything important said on television, newspapers and radio in glorious free ex-Soviet Russia? Well, it seems the regime would like to extend its power over the media so as to stop people from saying mean things on the Web while stifling any real online dissent while they are at it. A blogger from Syktyvkar recently wrote that police are "scum" and that the force "should be cleaned up by ceremonially burning officers twice a day in a town square." Syktyvkar is basically next to the north pole, so this was probably just a misunderstood offer to warm everyone up by the campfire, but the blogger has been given a suspended one-year prison term, and everyone is upset that the police state is about to ruin the last fun place to say mean things about people (oh and also express political opinions or whatever):
"This was an absolutely unjustified verdict," Alexander Verkhovsky, director of the SOVA centre in Moscow, a non-governmental group that monitors extremism, told Reuters. "Savva for sure wrote a rude comment ... but this verdict means it will be impossible to make rude comments about anybody."
Also funny is the letter from the blogger, Savva Terentiev, to Vladimir Putin:
"It is our duty to take responsibility for words on the Internet but ... I did not call for the inflaming of social hatred towards the employees of the police department," he wrote in the letter, posted at one of his sites, www.zasavva.ru.
Ha ha, no, you did not call for the inflaming of hatred toward the police, Savva. You called for the inflaming of the police themselves! Nice backhanded snark, buddy! Email me for a commenter invite.
(Image adapted from Modern Humorist.)