HomeTop StoriesRussian noodle stunt MP summoned for 'discrediting the military'

Russian noodle stunt MP summoned for ‘discrediting the military’

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A Russian MP who wore noodles in his ears while watching a speech by Vladimir Putin has been summoned to court.

Mikhail Abdalkin, a previously little-known member of parliament in Samara in southern Russia, shared a video last week of him remotely watching Putin’s state speech with noodles over his ears in an obvious mockery of the Russian leader.

“Hanging noodles on someone’s ears” is a well-known idiom in Russia that means “to tell a lie” or “pull someone’s leg.”

In the video, Abdalkin stared at a screen from his desk and nodded as Putin delivered his annual speech on Tuesday.

In a response, he said that he “agrees with everything” in that “great speech”.

Mr Abdalkin’s video was widely shared, prompting Russia’s ruling party to urge the communist leader, who is following the Kremlin’s line, to rein in the insurgent legislature.

Mr Abdalkin said police arrived at his office on Thursday and summoned him for a hearing next Tuesday where he was to be tried for a crime of “discrediting the Russian armed forces”.

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The deputy sheriff shared a photo of himself standing in his office as he watched a police officer at his desk fill out a form and other officers stood by.

A few days after it launched its invasion of Ukraine, Russia passed a war censorship law last February that allows prosecutors to crack down on all forms of dissent, calling it “fake news” or “discrediting Russia’s armed forces.”

Mr Abdalkin vowed to seek justice in court.

“I will fight to prove my innocence,” he said in a statement.

The speaker of the Samara Duma at a session on Tuesday called a vote to condemn Mr Abdalkin’s stunt from a “moral and ethical point of view”, which was passed despite 11 abstentions.

The legislator faces a fine of up to 200,000 rubles (£2,200) if found guilty. But such a second crime can lead to criminal prosecution and a prison sentence.

Russia’s new draconian laws, designed to criminalize all forms of anti-war and anti-government protests, have even made covert protests like Mr Abdalkin’s extremely rare.

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Since the start of the war, tens of thousands of people have been fined for merely posting on social media or displaying a protest sign. More than 200 people have been sentenced to criminal charges for the same “crime”.

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