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Russian police detain man suspected of painting offensive Putin graffiti

Russian President Vladimir Putin oversees Russian military exercises, 2018. (Kremlin.ru/Released)
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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian police have detained a man suspected of spray-painting a homophobic slur about President Vladimir Putin on the Interior Ministry building in the city of Yaroslavl, local media reported.

The suspect was detained on April 5 after police studied CCTV footage from the area, local media reported.

The graffiti, which was painted on March 31, appeared to read “Putin is a f****t” in Russian. It has since been painted over.

The graffiti was written weeks after Putin signed legislation enabling Russian authorities to block websites and hand out punishment for “fake news” and material deemed insulting to the state or the public.

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The new legislation allows the authorities to block websites or Internet accounts that publish what they deem to be “fake news” and penalizing those who post material found to be insulting to state officials, state symbols, or Russian society.

Russia’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, ordered all media outlets that carried pictures of the graffiti in Yaroslavl to delete them, citing the new law.

Several online news portals followed the order and deleted the pictures, but some did not, saying it was censorship.

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