NewsPutin singles out Russia's internal enemy ahead of March elections

Putin singles out Russia's internal enemy ahead of March elections

The cartoon "My Little Pony" in Russia is only for those 18 years old and up.
The cartoon "My Little Pony" in Russia is only for those 18 years old and up.
Images source: © Getty Images | John Keeble

4:14 PM EST, December 6, 2023

The Russian authorities have taken stringent measures against LGBTQ+ rights to such an extent that they've implemented a ban on children watching the beloved cartoon "My Little Pony". Now, in Russia, it's designated for only legal-aged viewers, a decision that moves beyond absurdity into the realm of mockery. However, it appears that this is no laughing matter. Vladimir Putin's administration has singled out an adversary to relentlessly target in the lead-up to the election.

Are you familiar with the popular cartoon "My Little Pony", which narrates the adventures of vibrantly hued ponies with flowing manes? Since the 1980s, American cartoons, toys, and an array of merchandise featuring the trademark ponies have integrated into popular culture. However, that's not the case in Russia. The Russian perspective toward this brand is strikingly different.

The delightful exploits of the popular ponies are now suited for viewers aged 18 and above. The animation series, well-liked among preschoolers worldwide (rated for 5-year-olds and above in Poland), which depicts the tales of clever and enchanting ponies, has come under scrutiny in Russia. The reason? One of the characters, Rainbow Dash, has a rainbow-colored mane.

This stems from a recent decision by the Russian Supreme Court to label the "international LGBT movement" as extremist.

Not only preschoolers but most viewers in Russia are now denied access to the pony-themed cartoon. As it's deemed a "hazardous and harmful cartoon", authorities question the wisdom of making it public. This is all due to Rainbow Dash, one of the characters who flaunts a mane and tail of rainbow hues—something the officials evidently disapprove of.

This preposterous verdict is clearly the result of a modern-day witch hunt unfolding in Russia.

Vladimir Putin's administration has spotlighted an internal enemy in advance of the March elections, and it seems they'll persistently tackle it until the electoral campaign concludes. Currently, the LGBTQ+ community is seen as an "extremist organization" in Russia, resulting in its prohibition. This decision engendered from a proposition by the Ministry of Justice, implicating Putin's direct involvement.

In response, the authorities promptly carried out operations in major cities, especially in gay clubs, where law enforcement officers led a series of invasive searches, looking for narcotics, forcing customers to the ground, and acting with extreme force. This marks the disturbing onset of the witch hunt, which receives public support from the Orthodox Church in Moscow.

Worryingly, it could also incite amplified hatred toward people with diverse sexual orientations.

In Russia, the persecution of LGBT individuals is not a recent phenomenon. The propagation of homosexuality was outlawed among minors a decade ago. Meanwhile, in 2022, a law was enacted banning "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships and pedophilia" in cinemas, online platforms, advertising, and public spaces. The authorities are now pushing the envelope even further.

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