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Putin Embraces Conservatism With Cursing Ban in Movies, Theater

President Vladimir Putin, cast in Russia as a defender of conservative values, is imposing a ban on swearing in Russian movies, music and books, seeking to suppress a form of profanity-laden slang known as “mat.”

Putin yesterday signed a law introducing fines of up to 2,500 rubles ($70) for individuals and $1,400 for organizations for cursing in public performances, including on television and in theater. Copies of books, CDs and movies containing swear words will carry warning labels, while new productions and movies won’t be granted distribution licenses, according to a copy of the legislation posted on a government website.

Putin, who’s facing the worst standoff with the West since the Cold War, has embraced a more conservative ideology as he seeks to thwart the spread of the Western ideas, which he blames for fomenting dissent against his rule. Last year, Putin stoked international ire by signing laws banning the adoption of Russian-born children by foreign gay couples and blocking distribution of information on “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.

The Institute of Russian Language at the Russian Academy of Sciences last year complied a list of four words that constitute swearing: “two depict male and female reproductive organs, one describes the process of copulation and the last refers to a promiscuous woman,” the Moscow Times said yesterday.

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