The Russian Extremism Law has found a new target: South Park. The notorious Basmanny court announced that the show “bore signs of extremist activity” in response to a motion filed by the Moscow city prosecutors office. The Prosecutors office charged twelve cartoons, South Park, The Simpsons, Family Guy (translated into Russian as the Griffins), Metalocalypse, Drawn Together (translated into Russian as Multreality), Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl, Angry Kid, and others with “promot[ing] violence and cruelty, pornography, anti-social behavior, abound with scenes of mayhem, the infliction of physical and ethical suffering, and are aimed at invoking fear, panic and terror in children. . . Practically all the cartoons exploit the topic of suicide, and characters demonstrate readiness to risk their lives for the sake of deriving extreme sensations.”
Well, yes. That’s why they’re funny.
What is missing from most reports in the English press is that the request to look into South Park came from a Russian evangelical group. According to Ezhednevnyi zhurnal, “The prosecutor’s claim was proceeded by a request from Protestants from the Union of Russian Christians of Evangelical Faith (ROSKhVE) who demanded the opening of a criminal case against the channel (2×2) and prohibit the showing of the cartoon.” ROSKhVE began their campaign against South Park in March. Here is a their open letter (Russian only). What has caught the ire of ROSKhVE was South Park’s ridicule of religion, specifically the episode Mr. Hanky’s Christmas Classics.