A Twitter user in Russia is in trouble after making on online joke that pinned the coronavirus outbreak on a laboratory in Russia.
The Investigative Committee said on April 7 that it had launched a probe into a tweet in which the user said that the coronavirus had been developed at a lab in Russia and then was spread from Russia to China.
A Twitter user registered as Alexander Thorn, a self-described satirist, said in an April 6 video tweet that the coronavirus had been developed at the Vector virology center near the city of Novosibirsk in September 2019.
He linked the creation of the virus with wildfires in Siberia last year through which, he said, the virus was spread in Russia and China.
"It was an operation of the world's shadow government, you know, like the masonry and stuff. I hope you understand, so that everyone would talk about this virus only and the truth about the fact that the Earth is flat would stop spreading around," Thorn says in an apparently satiric statement.
After the Investigation Committee's statement about launching a probe against him over his tweet, the satirist wrote on Twitter that it was a joke.
"Friends, a probe has been launched against me for yesterday's humorous video, in which I mock a conspiracy theory about the coronavirus originating from a Russian lab," the satirist wrote.
According to the Investigative Committee, the probe was launched into “the public distribution of fake news about conditions that may impose a threat to citizens’ lives and safety,” which by Article 207 of the Russian Criminal Code is punishable by up to three years in prison.