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The Daily Vertical: Ridiculous Things That Can Get You Arrested (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The things that can get you arrested in Vladimir Putin's Russia are, quite frankly, pretty ridiculous.

Consider the case of Maksim Kormelitsky, a resident of the Novosibirsk region who was recently sentenced to 15 months in a penal colony.

His crime? Reposting a photo on social media that had a caption questioning the sanity of Epiphany bathers, Orthodox Christians who jump into icy lakes in the dead of winter.

He was convicted of inciting hatred against Christians.

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Or consider Andrei Bubeyev, an electrician from the Tver region. He's serving a 27-month sentence.

And what did he do? Well, he reposted a photo of a tube of toothpaste with the caption: squeeze Russia out of your system as well as articles criticizing Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

A SWAT team surrounded and stormed his country cottage when they arrested him.

He was convicted of extremism, separatism, and inciting hatred toward Russians.

And as a result, his wife, Anastasia, has been forced to raise their 4-year-old son alone.

There are many other cases, but you get the idea.

Part of this is the result of a regime that is determined to control the Internet to prevent it from becoming a hotbed of dissent.

Part of it is the defensiveness of a regime can't stand to be lampooned.

But most of it is explained by the deep insecurity that defines Vladimir Putin's Kremlin.

Because if posting harmless Internet memes is a threat to the Russian state, then it must be a pretty damn weak state.

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