Russia's President Vladimir Putin Bans Foul Language in Movies, Other Forms of Media



Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Monday that he has signed off on a ban of foul language across a wide array of media, including cinema, events, concerts, literature and theater, according to Russia’s state-run news agency ITAR-Tass.

Much of mat springs from a handful of base words, as David Remnick explains in the New Yorker. The big four are khuy (“cock”), pizda (“cunt”), ebat’ (“to fuck”), and blyad (“whore” or “bitch”)—and those words will be banned from movies, concerts, and theatre performances starting July 1.

Prescribed punishments include fines of anywhere from $40 to $1,400, depending on whether the violator is a private citizen, an official, or a business. Movies that use the words won’t be certified for distribution, effectively cutting them off from a national audience.

There are exceptions, but they’re extremely murky. According to Remnick, the Ministry of Culture claims the swearing ban will only affect “pop culture” and will not apply to art: “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.”

But the difference between “pop culture” and “art” is whatever the Kremlin says it is.

And Putin’s administration isn’t exactly known as progressive when it comes to freedom of expression.

Additional reporting:

The new law includes events, concerts, books and theater

If filmmakers are looking to release a gritty, expletive-laden crime drama in Russia, it may be hard getting past the country’s strict new law.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Monday that he has signed off on a ban of foul language across a wide array of media, including cinema, events, concerts, literature and theater, according to Russia’s state-run news agency ITAR-Tass.

The controversial new law which outright bans foul language on all films is certainly one that could complicate international distribution. The law states that any film containing foul words will be denied a coveted distribution certificate.

And it won’t help to go rogue either: a film that screens in Russia without a certificate will be fined up to $2,793. Any film distributors caught a second time will be given a $5,586 fine and a three month suspension.

The law effects home distribution as well. Any book, video or piece of music that contains explicit language will be sealed with a protective cover that warns Russian consumers of the package’s foul contents.

The new law comes on the heels of a wave of media censorship from the Russia. Mimi Steinbauer, president of Radiant Films International, told TheWrap that television stations aren’t buying any content that contains homosexuality. “Anything even remotely smacking of it,” Steinbauer said.

The law will take effect July 1.



Sources: 1,2