Don’t Joke With Putin In Russia

A Russian newspaper faces loss of its “registration” for daring to have some fun with the president of Russia. It placed Putin’s face on the body of a Nazi officer and had another Nazi say, “Stiritz, I ask you to stay.” The two characters were from a Russian miniseries about World War II.Putin was a KGB agent in East Germany for several years in his younger days. A Russian spokesperson said: “Any associations with fascism in a country that went through WWII are improper.” The editor said he was making a joke and liked the play of words.

Putin is an all powerful leader of Russia and like most all powerful leaders can not stand to have himself made the butt of jokes. The idea a newspaper must be “registered” in order to publish raises fundamental issues concerning freedom of speech and the press. It’s time for Putin to relax and enjoy a joke, even if it is a bad one.