Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fining the truth

According to an article in the Czech press, a Russian has been fined 200,000 rubles (a little over $3,000) for information posted on VKontakte, described as the Russian version of Facebook.

The information that got him in trouble was the claim that the Soviet Union attacked Poland in World War II.

One issue here is the free-speech side of fining someone for a thing they wrote. Well, there are libel cases against people making claims that the Holocaust didn't happen, but that's because there's a mountain of evidence that it did.

The problem with this case is that what he wrote is true.

Well, I wasn't there, but the Russians don't have a very good counter-story. The photo published with the story shows a Soviet officer greeting his German counterpart in the fall of 1939. According to the caption, the photo was published in the Soviet Union on the anniversary of the "liberation of western Ukraine and Belarus." A liberation that was accomplished by attacking Poland.

The defendant was charged under a new law criminalizing the "rehabilitation of Nazism."

He was convicted because he had good grades in history, so he should have known that he was spreading false information.

According to the court, Luzgin should have known that his action would have "damaging effects on the public, including children, and that they would spread the surviving notions about negative actions of the Soviet Union during the Second World War."

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