Russian politician fined for ‘noodle ears’ stunt during Putin speech


A Russian local politician was fined nearly $2,000 on Thursday for “discrediting the armed forces” by dangling spaghetti from his ears while listening to a speech by President Vladimir Putin, a human rights monitoring group said.

Mikhail Abdalkin was convicted for a stunt, which he filmed and posted on social media, based on a Russian saying that someone who has been strung along or deceived has had noodles hung on their ears.

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The implication was that he did not believe the content of the state of the nation speech that Putin delivered on Feb. 21, just before the first anniversary of his invasion of Ukraine.

The monitoring group OVD-Info quoted Abdalkin, a Communist from the Samara region, as saying it had been an ironic gesture to express his dissatisfaction with “the president’s silence about internal political problems.” He was fined 150,000 rubles ($1,950).

Russia’s parliament this month tightened laws passed shortly after the invasion that now stipulate fines or jail terms of up to 15 years for discrediting or spreading false news about the armed forces or others, such as the Wagner mercenary group, who are taking part in the war in Ukraine.

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