A left-wing Russian MP has submitted a bill introducing fines for the distribution of games that either allow playing as National Socialists or require "controversial action" by those playing as Red Army.
Oleg Mikheyev of the Fair Russia parliamentary party told the Interfax he wanted to punish those who, in his opinion, spread "false information" and diminish the achievements of the Red Army, and those who undermine the authority of the Russian Federation or the Soviet Union and their military forces.
The lawmaker said the prepared amendments concern the Federal Law on Information, Information technology and Information Protection and this means that the restrictions could be applied to computer games.
The sanctions provided by the current version of Mikheyev’s bill include fines from 3000 rubles (about $85) for individuals to between 100,000 and 500,000 rubles ($2,700-$13,800) for businesses.
The press release distributed by Fair Russia especially mentioned three games – “Soldiers: Heroes of WWII” that allows the players to choose the NS side, “Company of Heroes” where Soviet characters have to commit war crimes against civilians and the “Maidan” online strategy based on the recent riots in Kiev, Ukraine.
Mikheyev said the Ukrainian-made game “Soldiers: Heroes of WWII” was the only game of its type which could be played for the Third Reich. He emphasized that this option was not available in US-made computer games and added that the use of electronic games for propaganda seemed a part of a larger plan.
“The Neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine and the events that followed it demonstrate the urgent need for tougher punishment for crimes connected with indirect propaganda and rehabilitation of Nazism. Such propaganda can be done through innocent-looking things such as computer games but its final objective can be the discrediting of Russia’s history and current status, and forming a negative image of our country both for foreigners and for our compatriots,” the politician said in a press interview.
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Mikheyev already suggested tougher regulation for computer games in February this year. Then he blamed a shooting and hostage-taking incident in a Moscow school on the teenagers’ fondness with virtual reality. To prevent such events in future Mikheyev drafted a bill that would forbid those who are underage to purchase “shooter” computer games (and all “potentially hazardous computer programs”) and even to frequent stores where such games are sold.