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"Russian Prosecutors in Bid to Ban South Park,"

reports the Times (London):

Prosecutors took action against the 2x2 television channel for broadcasting an episode [Mr Hankey's Christmas Classics] of the animated comedy show that featured Christmas songs including a medley duet performed by Santa Claus and Jesus Christ.

The Basmanny regional prosecutors office in Moscow has announced that the programme "bore signs of extremist activity"....

A statement by Moscow prosecutors read: "It offends the honour and dignity of Christians and Muslims alike." It could just have easily included Jews, Scientologists, Catholics, Mormons and Moonies all of whom have been mercilessly targeted by American series....

The prosecutors said ... the programme "could provoke ethnic conflict and spark inter-religious hatred".

Russia passed a 2006 law widening the definition of extremism to include "the abasement of national dignity" and "inciting religious and national hatred", which backers say was needed to stem a wave of violence aimed at ethnic minorities....

Thanks to Prof. Howard Friedman of the Religion Clause blog for the pointer. I haven't had the time to search for any Russian-language stories on the subject, but if you can find any — especially from prominent Russian news sites — please let me know, since of course I'd prefer to read stories that are closest to the source. If there are any statements from the prosecutor's office, they would be especially helpful.

Jim Rose (mail) (www):
Ok, so where's the apology for the pogroms, and all the anti-antisemitism that's rife in Russia today?
9.8.2008 8:36pm
sputnik (mail):
http://www.newsru.com/russia/08sep2008/mister.html
9.8.2008 8:43pm
sputnik (mail):
for Jim Rose.
There is no such a thing right now.
Go back about 100 years....
9.8.2008 8:44pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
One of my few legal claims to fame is that I did some legal work in South Park a couple of years ago (actually, in the Park County, CO, courthouse and clerk's office). I was apparently one of the few CO attorneys listed in the AZ bar book, and it turns out that Park County is just south of where I was living in Summit County. And, yes, it is kinda a real place - South Park City is a for-pay ghost town within the small town of Fairplay (the Park county seat), located at the junction of US 285 and CO 9, on the northern edge of South Park.
9.8.2008 8:58pm
Dave N (mail):
Russia's actions sounds like they might make a good South Park episode.
9.8.2008 9:18pm
Mikhail Koulikov (mail):
Ну ну здоровье-же. А Рэмблер вобще великая вещь.

Прокуратура вынесла телеканалу "2х2" второе предупреждение: Продление лицензии под вопросом

'Злобный мальчик' уйдет с экрана: Прокуратура обвинила ряд западных мультфильмов в экстремизме

Хватит убивать Кенни

А вот и пресс-релиз из прокуратуры подоспел

- Mikhail Koulikov
MLS (expected, 12/2008)
School of Library and Information Science
Indiana University, Bloomington
9.8.2008 10:15pm
Mikhail Koulikov (mail):
That link for the first article is incorrect, should be: Прокуратура вынесла...

- M.
9.8.2008 10:29pm
Hoosier:
What-EVAH! Stupid hippies.
9.8.2008 10:41pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
More reason why South Park rocks. Russia's authoritarianism is disturbing. But that's just Russia. Let Russia be Russia. And let South Park be South Park.
9.8.2008 11:30pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Bruce Hayden,

What is a "for-pay ghost town"? I've never heard that term.
9.8.2008 11:35pm
NYU JD:
Bill Poser--

I haven't been there, but I've seen similar things advertised elsewhere--presumably, it's a semi-fake "ghost town" dressed up in the old West style as a sort of attraction/theme park.
9.8.2008 11:41pm
one of many:
I'm at a loss. Mr. Hankey was a riff on Jews created to razz on Hollywood elites yet somehow the Russians managed to realize that his Christmas special was offensive to Christians and Muslims but not to Jews? If Christians and Muslims are offended then Jews should be just as offended by Mr. Hankey, I smell antisemitism (or reasonable people who don't insist on being offended) at work here.
9.9.2008 12:23am
TerrencePhilip:
Russia is taking an official stand against "ethnic conflict?"

Truly, Parker and Stone are revealed as amateurs: this is comedy on the grandest scale possible.
9.9.2008 12:27am
Hoosier:
Next, the Kremlin ban "Venture Brothers," due to the "ethocentric and sexist portrayal of Molotov Cocktease."

First they came for Stanley, and I said nothing, for I was not a dirty Jew . . .
9.9.2008 12:59am
Hoosier:
"then Jews should be just as offended by Mr. Hankey, I smell antisemitism"

Or an anthropomorphized poo. But I'll grant you that the smell is eerily similar.
9.9.2008 1:01am
Dave N (mail):
I don't know what he said, but Mikhail Koulikov's first post wins the thread.
9.9.2008 2:17am
DrGrishka (mail):
Gene,

Here's a Russian language article on this:

http://www.gazeta.ru/business/2008/09/08/2834072.shtml
9.9.2008 11:03am
Dan Goodman (mail) (www):
For future Russian reference: Google News has a Russian edition, which is linked to at the bottom of the page.

There are over fifty editions. Some countries have more than one edition, in different languages -- including the US, which has English-language and Spanish-language editions.
9.9.2008 12:27pm
schneidertri1 (mail):
Dude, they find that episode upsetting? It's only the third season in, and myself (non-jew) and my jewish husband found that one particularly heartwarming. Everyone deserves to be praised and dumped on (keeps you from being a dick)— I can't wait to see when woodland christmas critters hits that town. With all my love to every asshole— south park lover.
9.9.2008 3:01pm
Bill McGonigle (www):
Would it be too far a reach to say that any society that can be thrown into turmoil by South Park is about to fail anyway?
9.9.2008 11:48pm