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Criticizing authorities not prohibited in Russia, but online conduct rules needed — Putin

Putin disagreed with the opinion that people can be punished for criticism of the authorities

MOSCOW, October 7. /TASS/. Rules of online conduct and penalties for reposting dangerous fake news are necessary, but have nothing to do with a ban on criticizing the authorities, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview for the TASS project entitled "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin."

"The same universal rules and regulations for mankind that are applied offline, should be also applied online," the Russian head of state said, adding that the Internet allows for spreading "whatever you like."

Therefore, Putin backs punishing those who spread "fabrications and lies that may trigger panic," as well as child pornography or methods to commit suicide, "because this could harm our people."

The president disagreed with the opinion that people can be punished for criticism of the authorities.

"Criticism of the authorities is not forbidden in our country. What is forbidden is to desecrate state symbols, the state emblem, the national anthem, any state symbol. Well, anyone who desecrates state symbols - affects all individuals, all citizens, that is why this is just a means of protecting the interests of society. The same is done in any civilized country, in any of them," he said.

The project entitled "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin" and devoted to the 20th anniversary of Putin’s work at the helm of the Russian state, was launched on February 20, 2020. The TASS news agency has already released 17 episodes of the interview, but decided to suspend the project due to drastic changes in the global information space. Today’s episode of the interview will be the final one.

The final episode of the video interview is available at