MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Winnie the Pooh share a dubious honor: Anyone who depicts either of them with a swastika can be punished under the law.
The Justice Ministry published the latest — and biggest — update to its list of extremist materials on its web site this week, and many of the 414 new entries are so vague or controversial that analysts say they threaten to discredit the list all together.
The list is important because police officers and other law enforcement officials use it in street checks, apartment searches and criminal cases.
Among the new entries, extremist material is identified as “a picture of Winnie the Pooh wearing a swastika,” “a self-made template for a future newspaper, comic or other print materials,” and “a flag with a cross.”
The flag entry theoretically makes it an offense to produce or distribute Georgian or Swiss flags and Russian Orthodox banners, all of which have crosses on them.
Even the possession of these materials in mass quantities — and it is up to a court is to decide how many items comprise a “mass” in each individual case — carries the threat of punishment.