#3. Prosecuting Pussy Riot
When your massive governmental legal system is prosecuting an all-woman punk band, you're not just the bad guy, you're the bad guy in an '80s dystopia built entirely from frizzy hair and neon.
These enemies of the state look like they should be singing about the alphabet,
and the one on the left has clearly just forgotten her hand puppet.
The music video for "Mother of God, Drive Putin Away" was a protest against the leader of the Russian Orthodox church describing Putin's politics as a miracle. The resulting trial is brilliant reference material for writing a parody of a state-sponsored show trial, and terrible in literally every other way a human could conceive. For less than 60 seconds of jumping up and down in a near-empty cathedral, two members of the band Pussy Riot have been sentenced to two years in labor camps. Others have fled the country. If you watch the video, you'll see that it's less sacrilege than it is school disco, a few seconds of fully clothed teeny-bopping cut between scenes of the band somewhere else. You've offended the sanctity of the church more if you've ever scratched yourself during a service.
"Take this, God."
They were charged with "hooliganism" and inciting "religious hatred," despite the song being purely anti-Putin. This wouldn't be the first time people have claimed he's god. On the upside, when "The Man" out to get you is the president himself, I think you win at punk.
#2. Attacking a Dead Man With Orphans
Putin signed a bill to prevent Russian orphans from finding parents in memory of a man who died in jail. To save you from going back to check, the author of this article is not "Charles Dickens," nor "Charles Dickens' ghost after 140 years of lying in a grave stewing over things that were even more miserable."
Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
"I'm outta here until you stop reading that candyland Oliver Twist."
Auditor Sergei Magnitsky uncovered an alleged fraud of over $200 million by Russian officials and police officers, then reported it to Russian officials and police officers. This is known as a first and last mistake. He was arrested on charges of assisting fraud, because it would seem that corrupt officials have a sense of humor, then kept in jail until he died, because it would seem they are also total bastards. Also: It only took a year. Double-also: DO NOT end up in Russian jail.
The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture condemned the Russian government over the death. A Russian court case ruled that that was just fine, acquitting the doctor who presided over a patient dying of toxic shock and untreated pancreatitis. They then ended the investigation into his death but continued the prosecution for fraud, the exact opposite of what's meant to happen when a suspect dies in even suspect-er circumstances.
They found him guilty in extreme absentia. The European Parliament found them in violation of international law for doing so. When your court case makes your country guilty of crimes against the defendant, your legal system is working exactly backward.
The most famous previous example was that time a pope dug up the corpse of his predecessor to scream a lot and find it guilty of pretty much everything, presumably including the first technically correct and unobjected charge of "being a stinky-head." Convicting a corpse of fraud is how you say "We haven't found a way to prosecute the concept of justice herself for false advertising. Yet."
She was denied a Russian entry visa for refusing to remove eyewear in her photo.
The affair led to the U.S. adoption of the Magnitsky Act, which empowers the seizure of assets from Russian officials involved in violations of human rights. Putin retaliated by banning the adoption of Russian orphans by U.S. families. For the last 20 years, around 3,000 children a year have found families in America. Putin put an end to that because he was pissed off. Meaning that a world leader is using the tears of orphans to fuel a necromantic attack on a dead man, because he understands that bureaucracy is more powerful and evil than black magic.
#1. Trying to Erase a Segment of the Population
Putin recently signed a bill enabling the prosecution of anyone even suggesting the homosexual lifestyle in a public space.
When you legislate against the Village People, you are unquestionably the bad guy.
The law is so vaguely worded, it could legitimately arrest the Smurfs. Moscow has also forbidden pride marches for a hundred years, and Russia currently suffers from the kind of homophobic violence we normally only see when the start of a movie wants to establish scumbags as absolutely evil before the hero kills them.
Dutch filmmakers have already been detained under the new laws. When you're telling Dutch filmmakers to stop what they're doing, you're officially against fun, free speech, and giving a fuck what the rest of the world thinks of your gulag-with-passports. Even Stolichnaya are explaining how they're not really Russian, and that's a level of drinking problem no one else has ever dreamed of.
Vodka is normally responsible for embarrassment, not suffering from it.
Putin went further by firing more of his favorite weapon: orphans! Russian children may no longer be adopted by gay couples, or any unmarried couples in any country with marriage equality. Which you might notice is any country currently living in the 21st century.
I'm more disappointed than anything. I always hoped that Putin's evil scheme would be something awesome. A nuclear moon laser, or unleashing a race of cybernetically grizzlier bears. Not "I hate the gay." If nothing else, a charismatic leader of a country bordering the Baltic Sea publicly working to erase even the concept of a segment of his country's population is terrifyingly unoriginal.
For more Putinmania, check out 7 Reasons Vladimir Putin Is the World's Craziest Badass and 8 Hilariously Insane Examples of Vladimir Putin Propaganda. For funner international criminality, Luke fixes Final Fantasy and Halo by asking What if Every Video Game Were Saints Row?