This Vladimir Putin Image is Now Officially Illegal to Share in Russian Federation

They include the make-up picture, which has been dubbed the "gay clown" image.

The infamous image of Russia's Vladimir Putin portrayed as gay has been banned by a Russian court and is now listed as "extremist material".

The image was accompanied by a caption that appeared to use a homophobic slur to compare Putin's "voters" with LGBT people, adding "they say there are a lot of them, but I don't know any".

Russian news outlets are having trouble reporting exactly which image of the Internet's many Putin-gay-clown memes is now illegal to share.

As noted by the Russian website TJ Journal, the first news organization to flag the Justice Ministry's designation, numerous such images of Putin have circulated on the Internet for years. It was banned by the Central District court of Tver, Central Russia in May 2016, along with other images uploaded to the Russian social media platform Vkontakte by defendant Aleksandr Tsvetkov. The offending image is number 4,071, which the ministry describes a "man resembling the president" whose makeup "hints at the Russian president's allegedly nonstandard sexual orientation".

While only just banned, the image has been prevalent on social media since 2013, after Russian Federation passed a law banning propagandising to children about "nontraditional sexual relations", causing protests in which LGBT protesters were arrested and beaten.

A year later, the paper reported, Putin signed a law imposing prison sentences for people who give so much as thumbs-up to a forbidden online post.

He won't be jailed, but he has been ordered into mandatory psychiatric attention by the Justice Ministry.

In 2015, Russian authorities began shutting down websites of Putin critics, and restricting almost all anonymous blogs, The Washington Post reported.

  • Joey Payne