Russia Imprisons Citizens for Posting Anti-Kremlin Memes

For showing a picture of a tube of toothpaste with the words “Squeeze Russia out of yourself” Andrei Bubeyev was arrested and sentenced to over two years in prison.  He showed this to twelve of his friends on social media under his private setting and didn’t know that others besides his friends could see the post.  Since 2010 there has been over 230 convictions of citizens posting online and rioting using hate speech.  In 2002 Russia put into a law that states no one is to undermine the nation’s security, constitutional order, glorify terrorism, racism, or try to get others to do so.  It’s not clear how this law determines what is thought to be a danger to the country.  It’s up to the court to decide if you used social media to post items of danger.

In 2014 President Putin signed a new law that states if you post in the press or online any nonviolent crimes such as hate speech there will be penalties.

When Andrei Bubeyev was arrested, he believed that it was due to the fact that he was expressing his opinion and others may want to express their opinions.  The government wanted to show that if you express your opinion you will be arrested just like Bubeyev.

While visiting his family after working at a rural construction site where he couldn’t be reached by phone his home was raided by a SWAT team.  They arrested him after he was put on a list as being an extremist.  During the raid his 4-year-old son was injured by the SWAT team and still wears the eye patch for the injury.  Because his wife couldn’t afford day care she had to quit medical school.

Russia has been handing out more prison sentences for hate speech since the tensions with the Ukraine has heated up.