The desecration of national symbols: right or crime?

Kay Nietfeld

Three Russian flags are shown as the National Anthem is played during the medal ceremony for the Men's 50 km Mass Start Free during the the Closing Ceremony in Fisht Olympic Stadium at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, 23 February 2014.

Freedom of speech vs sacred national symbols

There are political and moral objections being voiced about a Russian Supreme Court decision on Tuesday to criminalize the act of insulting the country’s national anthem, along with the country’s Coat of Arms and the flag.More often than not, such laws become weapons against national minorities and journalists, everywhere.


Part of the issue at hand is that such insults can provide legitimation for arbitrary arrests. Those who commit such acts in Russia may have to pay fines ranging ...

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