A major WTF moment just out from The Moscow Times. Winnie the Pooh has made it on to a list of banned extremist material in Russia. As far as I can tell, here’s how it happened.
Regional courts from all over Russia submit lists of symbols, objects and materials that have been associated with arrested extremists. These lists are compiled into a master list that is distributed to all Russian police who can then consult the list when investigating other crimes. If any of these items on the list are found when a crime is being investigated, then additional charges of extremism can be levied:
If a person is under investigation for another crime, the possession of extremist materials can and often is used to add extremism charges to the case, thus stiffening the punishment. For example, beating a Tajik citizen would be classified as simple assault unless the police found extremist materials in the attacker’s home. Then the case could be classified as assault with the motive of ethnic hatred, which entails a stricter punishment.
The bear got onto the list when a resident in the city of Ufa was arrested on extremism charges in 2006 and amongst his possessions was Winnie the Pooh.
The acting chairman of the court, Ramil Karipov, told The Moscow Times on Thursday that … “Prosecutors came to us with the list and an expert’s conclusion that these items are extremist. So, we decided that they are extremist,” he said by telephone from Ufa.
The list included the flags with crosses, Winnie the Pooh and “two sheets of A4 white paper with the picture of a swastika and the words ‘White Fist National-Socialist Newspaper.’”
Hmmm, one wonders what sort of ‘expert’ came to this ‘conclusion’. Maybe the Russkis are just scared that Winnie could kick Ivan’s ass!