Insult Russia’s anthem, get a year in jail! Or perhaps not

Putin sings!

“You’re the one that I want. You are the one, one…”

This week, Russia’s Supreme Court gave the go ahead for a bizarre law that would make “distorting” the country’s anthem a criminal offence – punishable by up to a year’s prison.

The law’s the idea of two politicians who were shocked by an incident in Russian-held Crimea last month when the anthem was sung at the opening of that region’s congress.

The anthem’s lyrics were beamed up onto a screen at the event, but the computer technician “accidentally” used the words from a parody so everyone got to sing about Russia being “crazy” and “insane” rather than “sacred” and “mighty”.

If this all seems a bit familiar, it’s because it is. A few years ago, in neighbouring Kazakhstan, someone accidentally played Ricky Martin’s Livin’ la Vida Loca instead of their anthem. The result? A law making insulting the Kazakh anthem a criminal offence, punishable by a year in jail!

Is the Russian law going to pass? Of course not!

Putin’s not nuts. It’d technically mean you’d have to arrest every bad singer in Russia. And it’d also stop Russians doing amazing things like playing the anthem backwards while drinking orange juice on a plane (see below; watch to the end). And who on earth would want to stop that?