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MOSCOW, December 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Is it right and proper to let Russian children see the hilarious animated cartoon series Just You Wait! — an endless saga of the crafty bad Wolf chasing the charming, witty and resourceful Hare — or its US counterpart Tom and Jerry, brimming with what now some see as impermissible scenes of violence? Is it good to let Russia’s minors see human nudity, even that depicted by great artists and sculptors of the past? Answers to these and other related questions are to be found in a yet-to-be developed concept of children’s information security, which has sparked wide public controversy even at the drafting stage. By and large the main idea fits in well with the overall concept of conservatism and the protection of traditional values, which President Vladimir Putin mentioned in his recent address to the Federal Assembly. Quite a few legal acts the State Duma has already adopted, or is about to adopt, match this concept pretty well.
One of the latest such initiatives is a proposed ban on children’s beauty contests.
The draft of the document experts have delivered a year after the adoption of the law on the protection of children from harmful content has been published on the website of the information technologies and mass communications watchdog Roskomnadzor for a wide public debate. The law is now not applicable to information products having considerable historical, artistic or other cultural value to society. The law’s provisions blocking access to Internet resources displaying information that may be harmful to minors do not apply to such items.
The brainfathers of the Concept have decided to right this wrong. Some very weird rumors have begun to circulate virtually in no time. For instance, some fear for the future of the copy of Michelangelo’s statue of David in the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum. Experts are now warning against taking the restrictions and bans too literally. They argue that the Concept is meant for professionals, and not the public at large. The one-hundred-page document consists of thirteen chapters.
“We, adults, are obliged to offer young Russians a subculture where they will find it easy and natural to grow up to be good, kind, honest, open and kind persons and to accept the norms of morality,” the government-published Rossiiskaya Gazeta quotes one of the authors, chief of the Right of the Child foundation, Boris Altshuller, as saying. “Although describing all nasty things in one guide is impossible in principle, I believe.”
The concept has been complemented by several postulates of children’s and teenagers’ information security.
“Without excessive violence.” Psychologists warn: if a kid casually sees several violent scenes from an action film, nothing terrible will happen. But if such scenes are watched every day, then the risk is round the corner.
“Nude but not naked.” Children should by no means be allowed to see hardcore content meant exclusively for adults, analysts say. The theme of sexual relations is to be regarded as a firm taboo. In particular, when some deviations from the norm are involved.
“Is it right to let children see a film in which a boy gives a girl a peck on the cheek?” Altshuler asks. “In realty, the question is this: ‘Where are the hands at the moment?’ If it is an absolutely friendly kiss, then the answer is YES. In some other cases, possibly NO.”
An all-out ban on information about narcotic drugs. The same applies to the theme of suicides.
A federal law banning children’s beauty contests may prove another innovation expected to protect the morality of Russian children and teenagers. Its draft has been developed by and large and legislators are not putting finishing touches to it.
A member of St. Petersburg’s legislative assembly, Vitaly Milonov, pioneered the initiative of banning children’s “vanity fairs.” The same legislator is very well-known for his high-profile initiatives, including a local ban on LGBT propaganda among minors. A federal level legal act on the same issue followed shortly. Milonov argues that for holding beauty contests for children under sixteen years of age the parents must be brought to justice alongside the organizers.
He believes that little children wearing bathing suits and copying “adult top models with the manners of frivolous women” harm children’s minds and attract pedophiles. At the regional level such a ban is already effective in the Krasnodar Territory.
The policy in favor of protecting Russia’s traditional patriarchal values went into high gear back last year. This is well-seen in a number of restrictive acts the State Duma has adopted since and the high profile affair of the Pussy Riot punk band. In his message to the federal assembly on December 12 Putin confirmed that Russia would continue to safeguard its traditional values, although it had no intention of lecturing other countries.
“These days many countries are revising the norms of morality, erasing national traditions and specific features of nations and cultures. Society is required to not just recognize the reasonable right of each individual to the freedom of conscience, political views and privacy, but mandatory recognition of the equality of good and evil, however odd this may seem. Which, in fact are conflicting notions,” Putin said.
“We are aware that in the world there are ever more people who support our stance in favour of protecting traditional values, which have been the spiritual and moral backbone of each people’s civilization,” Putin said.
“On the whole, the conservative ideology in the world is on the rise,” the website Politonline.ru quotes the president of the Polity foundation, Vyacheslav Nikonov as saying. “In most European countries the parties in power are conservative ones. In fact, they account for the largest factions in the European Parliament. The conservative ideology implies a free market economy, a strong state, a strong army, an independent foreign policy and, which is exceptionally important, loyalty to the traditional values - such as the family, faith and patriotism. This combination constitutes the basis of the modern conservative ideology, which is being translated into the policy of our state.”
As follows from opinion polls, an overwhelming majority of Russians share these values. A TSIRKON opinion poll has shown that 88% of the population disapprove of same-sex relations, 84% are critical of breach of faith, 82%, of polyandry, 78%, of free love and casual relations, 77%, of polygyny, and 63%, of voluntary childlessness.
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