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Why the prosecutor’s office, the court and the Justice Ministry recorded the Disney character in the Nazis: Society: Russia

Why the prosecutor’s office, the court and the Justice Ministry recorded the Disney character in the Nazis

Last week, a court in the city of Seversk in the Tomsk Region fined two young people three thousand rubles each for distributing extremist materials. According to the press service of the regional prosecutor’s office, the case was opened after the local FSB officers found on their pages on the social network the musical compositions of the right-wing radical group “KhorSS”, as well as … one series of the Disney cartoon about the adventures of the duckling Donald Duck.
The reason, it would seem, lies on the surface: the cartoon continually sounds a Nazi salute, demonstrates the swastika and portraits of Adolf Hitler (albeit caricatured). The absurdity of the situation is that this series from the adventures of Donald Duck (the original name is “Der Fuehrer’s Face” – “Führer’s Face”) was shot by Walt Disney Studios in 1942 as part of an anti-Hitler propaganda campaign. According to the plot, the duckling Donald is a German who works at a defense plant, where the Nazis force him to work 24 hours a day. Even in his house, he is forced to salute the portraits of Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito. At the end of the series, it turns out that Donald had all this in a nightmare, he hugs the Statuette of Liberty on his table and admits that he is happy to be a US citizen.

In 1942, this cartoon received the Academy Award in the category of short animated films. He is ranked 22nd in the 1994 list of 50 greatest animated films, compiled by film historian Jerry Beck. In fact, this is an anti-fascist cartoon, vivid anti-war and anti-Hitler propaganda – the same, for example, as the work of Soviet cartoonists Kupriyanov, Krylov and Sokolov, better known as the Kukryniksy creative group.

Reproduction of the poster of the Great Patriotic War: “We will cut off all the ways of the evil enemy, from the loop, he cannot get out of this!” Creative Association Kukryniksy
Reproduction of the poster of the Great Patriotic War: “We will cut off all the ways of the evil enemy, from the loop, he cannot get out of this!” Creative Association Kukryniksy

Why prosecutors from the Tomsk region, without delving into the meaning of the work, recorded it as extremist? Why did the Seversk court agree with the arguments of the prosecutor’s office? And finally, what prevented the local FSB officers from simply clicking the play button and watching the Disney movie? Wary of the words “Der Fuehrer …” in the title? But from the very first shots it becomes clear that this is a talented caricature of Hitlerite Germany. And without knowing the English language, even a child can easily understand the plot. But not a single official from the concerned departments of the cartoon looked.

Tomsk prosecutors and judges did not have such a need. Since the work is already on the list of unreliable – it means extremism. The cartoon got into it in 2013, after a student at a vocational school, Stanislav Semenov from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, was sentenced to six months in prison, conditionally, under article 282 of the Criminal Code (incitement to national hatred). Semenov posted on his page on the social network several videos with frankly xenophobic content. Among them was the unfortunate series about Donald Duck. It must be assumed that the FSB, the prosecutor and the judge were guided by the formal letter of the law: swastika, Hitler, “hail” – extremism. As a result, Der Fuehrer’s Face was included on the Federal List of Extremist Materials under paragraph 2030: “Donald Duck and Fascism (Prohibited Series) .avi.”

Now, any resident of Russia, should he put on the Internet at least a link to this cartoon, automatically becomes an extremist and distributor of extremist materials. Indeed, the law “On countering extremist activity” considers such activity “propaganda and public demonstration of Nazi paraphernalia or symbolism”. But if you follow this logic, then the accusations of extremism threaten everyone who somehow uses the image of Hitler, the swastika and other Nazi attributes in their works. It turns out that another rare cartoon should also be banned – The Ducktators by Warner Bros. Studios (1942), where Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito are represented in duck images, and everyone’s beloved domestic film “Seventeen Moments of Spring”.
The problem of Nazi paraphernalia and symbolism was especially acute this year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Victory. In order to somehow defuse the situation, Roskomnadzor found it necessary to state its position on this matter and even ordered a special legal-linguistic study at the Department of Forensic Expertise of the Moscow State Law Academy named after O.E. Kutafina.

In conclusion, it is stated that when preparing this rule, lawmakers used the connective union of “and” to connect the concepts of “propaganda” and “public demonstration”. That is, according to experts, the concepts are not just listed, but grammatically interconnected.

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