A Russian politician was fined recently for mocking Vladimir Putin during the Russian president's state of the nation speech –a relatively benign punishment, considering other dissidents are regularly jailed, poisoned or find themselves falling to their death from a window.
Mikhail Abdalkin, a Communist Party Duma Deputy, was convicted of "discrediting the armed forces" after he posted a video to social media of himself dangling strands of spaghetti over his ears while watching Putin’s Feb. 21 speech on his computer, according to Reuters.
The stunt was the physical form of the traditional Russian idiom “to hang noodles on someone’s ears,” which is meant to convey that a person is being lied to, according to the Telegraph.
According to human rights monitoring group OVD Info, the local politician was fined 150,000 rubles ($1,950) for the misdemeanor after a court found him guilty. If Abdalkin were to voice his dissent a second time, the Samara region MP could wind up with criminal charges.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Putin-led government criminalized all forms of anti-war and anti-government protests. Russian civilians have found themselves behind bars for publicly protesting the war, and journalist Marina Ovsyannikova fled the country last year while under pre-trial house arrest for an on-air protest against Putin.
Abdalkin’s act of defiance was to show his disappointment over "the president's silence about internal political problems," according to the report.
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