May 6, 2014
On Monday, the same day that Putin signed an extremely distressing bill outlawing the “public rehabilitation of Nazism,” he also signed a fantastic bill which bans the use of profanity in public performances, including movies and plays.
From the Moscow Times:
The law will come into effect on July 1, and afterwards swearing in films, plays and concerts will incur penalties of up to 2,500 rubles ($70) for individuals and up to 50,000 rubles for companies and organizations.
A similar measure was passed in April 2013, banning swearing in media.
In December 2013, the Institute of Russian Language at the Russian Academy of Sciences complied a list of four words that constitute swearing and will thus be banned. Two depict male and female reproductive organs, one describes the process of copulation and the last refers to a promiscuous woman.
The most recent law has not yet specified a list of specific curse words.
According to the Culture Ministry, which is in charge of overseeing the work of theaters and also issuing movie distribution certificates, the newly passed measures will only concern mass culture and will not concern art.
“The law is not aggressive; its only aim is to regulate this sphere, so that swearing will have its purpose,” Irina Kaznacheeva, the ministry’s spokesperson, told The Moscow Times on Monday.
“It will be up to the artistic director to decide what to do with swearing, whether to break the new law or not, we will not interfere in the process,” she said.
Many theater directors and playwrights have complained that the new law is effectively in conflict with intellectual property legislation, according to which authors’ works cannot be changed.
“We discussed this situation at our artistic meeting and decided that we will preserve all artistic texts, keeping swearing in them, but prohibiting actors from improvising,” said Varvara Faer, director of the BerlusPutin play at Moscow’s teater.doc independent theater.
The play satirizes the relationship between Putin and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, with the main character being a hybrid of the two politicians.
“I am against the use of swearing in life, but I believe artists can use it in their works, in case the work is truly artistic,” she said.
Prominent Russian philosopher and linguist Vadim Rudnev believes that the government’s attempt to regulate language means that it increasingly resembles a criminal gang.
“They want to designate their territory: this can be said and this cannot,” Rudnev, a member of the structuralist Tartu-Moscow Semiotic school said.
“In reality it is a common practice to swear among the intelligentsia. When writer Maxim Gorky came to visit Tolstoy, who began to swear to him, he got upset. The truth was that by swearing Tolstoy was demonstrating that Gorky was part of the group,” he said.
A criminal gang, eh Vadim? I seem to recall another group of politicians being called that recently…
As I mentioned earlier today, I am very bothered by the anti-Nazism we see from Putin. But it is difficult not to be very happy about virtually every other aspect of his social-engineering program, which continually seeks to better the Russian people – whether it be by raising the birthrate, empowering religion, or disempowering vulgar and harmful media.
This is clearly a small step in a larger agenda of cleaning up the whole of society from the corruption of the Western influence. This is the obvious direction all of Europe must go, if they wish to save themselves from complete destruction.