Russia apparently isn’t a big fan of imagery showing President Vladimir Putin as a gay clown. At least one version of the popular meme was recently described on the Russian government’s list of “things that constitute extremism,” the Washington Postreported Wednesday. Due to the banned status, Russian publications have experienced difficulty while attempting to identity exactly which Putin clown image is “now illegal to share.”
On Russia’s Federal List of Extremist Materials, an image of Putin “with eyes and lips made up” is mentioned. The image, referenced as Item 4071, is also described as implying the “supposed nonstandard sexual orientation of the president of the Russian Federation.” An official copy of the image has not been provided by the government. By the Moscow Times‘ best guess, the image in question resembles this:
Gay Putin memes, including those of the clown variety, were popularized in 2013 when Putin signed a measure that bans giving children “information about homosexuality” into law. The ban—which imposed steep fines for violations—characterizes such information as “propaganda” and was reported by the Guardian at the time as part of the government’s effort to discredit western liberalism.