Putin to the Rescue: Russia Outlaws Foul Language

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If you’re a Russian official and use obscene language, you can be fined $40 under the terms of a new law signed by Vladimir Putin, but if you’re a regular citizen, you can be fined $70. Businesses can be on the hook for up to $1,400 per incident.

According to the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass (whatever happened to Pravda?), the new law “bans the use of obscene language when ensuring the rights of Russian citizens to use the state language and protecting and developing language culture.”

Huh? Unless the original statement means “while” where the translation says “when,” I’m not sure what they’re getting at here.

Anyway, the use of “obscene language” (undefined in the law) in a film will doom it to the underground, as the state won’t grant it a distribution license.

Rock stars, actors and performances of all ilk are to be similarly constrained by the law.

Books, CDs or movie DVDs will have to be distributed in a sealed package with the warning, “Contains obscene language,” or they cannot be otherwise foisted on a populace too tender to hear swear words.

Is this new law a response to the rock group Pussy Riot and its lyric putdown of V. Putin?

Anyway, Russia — with or without the Ukraine — sure sounds like a fun, open type of place.

Categories: Grammar Notes

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