On July 6, the Presidium of the Regional Court in Kamchatka, in the Russian Far East, held that the video «Дональд Дак и фашизм» (“Donald Duck and Fascism”) is not illegal “extremist material.” A local man was convicted of violating a law against distributing such material after he uploaded the video to the internet, and the video was added to the state’s list of banned media.
According to the report, “when prosecutors discovered” the video is actually a 1943 Walt Disney cartoon called “Der Fuehrer’s Face” (originally titled “Donald Duck in Nutzi Land”), they asked the higher court to take another look at the case. (I assume these are higher-ranking officials who weren’t involved in the original prosecution, but maybe they just didn’t bother to watch the video the first time.)
Donald is a Nazi in the cartoon, which is a little jarring (as is the blatantly racist caricature of the Japanese emperor), but at the end it all turns out to be just a nightmare. And of course it was meant to mock the Nazis, not promote them, which the court seems to have recognized this month. It held the cartoon should not be on the banned list and reversed the conviction.
I couldn’t find the decision itself—I’m sure it’s there on the court’s website but navigating the site via Google Translate was making my brain hurt. Mainly I just wanted to confirm the report anyway, and this press release from the court announcing its decision is good enough for me. Frankly, the idea that I can get any document at all from a court in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatky in Kamchatka Krai, Russia, without even leaving my house is amazing enough, so I’m just going to go marvel at that for a while.