August 04, 2023

The Lady with the Tote Bag


The Lady with the Tote Bag
Pride. Chris Johnson, Unsplash.

21-year-old Alexandra has been slapped with a hefty fine by a Krasnodar court for, according to Mediazona, “tarnishing the reputation of the Russian army.”

Alexandra said the court showcased screenshots taken from her Instagram profile, which boasts a modest 180 followers. Among the featured materials is an image of a bag adorned with the phrase "No To War," a corresponding graffiti depiction, a photograph displaying a "Peace" sticker, and notably, a snapshot of a tote bag bearing the inscription, "Sex is cool but Putin's death is better."

Police officers made a surprise visit to Alexandra’s home on June 28 to inform her of a complaint made about her posts. She was then escorted to the police station and subjected to an examination of her tattoos, notably drawing attention to one on her shoulder that portrayed a cartoon canine donning a rainbow scarf with the phrase “Gay dog” featured above it. 

Alexandra recounted the officers' requests for her to reveal her tattoos by rolling up her T-shirt sleeves, afterwards translating the English phrases into Russian. Officers took photos of her face and tattoos.

The officers prohibited her from phoning a lawyer: “They said that 'if a lawyer shows up now, we will launch the whole legal machine. We will dig up more stuff there, and it will be even worse.'”

Ultimately, Alexandra found herself facing charges for two administrative offenses. She was fined R200,000 (approximately $2,116) for “promoting non-traditional sexual relations” as well as R30,000 (approximately $317) for “discrediting the Russian army.” The court was unable to clarify how the woman's tattoo breaches the law.

“He was saying some incoherent things: ‘Propaganda, propaganda’,” said Alexandra. “The lawyer asked him directly: ‘Explain to us where the violation is’. He said: ‘Well, I thought it was a violation.’” 
 

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