RUSSIALINK: “Thirty-four Russians subjected to administrative liability for insulting state symbols – Prosecutor General’s Office” – Interfax

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MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – Courts have found 34 Russians guilty of administrative violations for insulting state symbols, Russian Prosecutor General’s Office spokesman Alexander Kurennoi said.

“The police made 56 protocols of administrative violations over a period of nine months. Courts found 34 people guilty, 13 cases were closed, nine cases are pending trial,” Kurennoi said on the video channel Efir on Thursday.

According to his information, the Prosecutor General’s Office has sent to Roskomnadzor 44 demands for measures to delete information insulting state symbols and restricting user access to information resources disseminating such information since the law took effect in March.

“These demands affect 82 indicators of webpages. Of the 44 demands, 42 are about information insulting the state flag and 24 are about insults to the state emblem,” Kurennoi said.

Speaking about the criteria used by prosecutors and the police to open administrative violation cases, Kurennoi said: “It’s not that criticism of the authorities is unacceptable now.”

Kurennoi mentioned five grounds on which statements can be recognized as insulting. “It’s the Russian Federation as a state, society, citizens of Russia and its population (people) with the history, interests, behavior, psychology. Also state symbols (emblem, anthem flag), the Constitution as the main law of Russia,” he said.

He also mentioned the institutions that exercise state administration administer justice: the president, the government, the Federal Assembly and courts. “That is often the stumbling stone. Pay attention, specific federal, regional and local bodies, their divisions, officials and deputies are not objects of the information that is classed as illegal under the amendments to the law on information,” Kurennoi said.

Kurennoi also said personal correspondence on the Internet cannot be grounds for punishment for insulting the state authorities. “The Big Brother will not come after you. We are talking about information which is expressed in indecent form, which insults a person’s dignity and public morals,” he said.

“It is characterized by foul language, pornographic images, indecent expressions, gestures, images and other images whose demonstration is prohibited. The ban does not apply to just uncultured presentation without the manifestation of lowly goals,” Kurennoi said.