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Local Officials to Be Punished for Photoshop Flub

Officials from Krasnodar's Labinsky district appear in a digitally altered photograph that gained notoriety after bloggers noticed the image was a fake.

Administration officials in Krasnodar's Labinsky district might consider signing up for a basic Photoshop course after they were caught publishing a poorly altered photograph of themselves on the administration's website, prompting laughs from around the Internet.

Sharp-eyed bloggers picked up on the slip, ridiculing the photograph posted on the city administration's website for the obvious forgery.

Officials removed the photo after the image went viral. A comical contest to edit the officials into various other scenes was started on social-networking site Vkontakte, with users putting the officials into photographs on the moon, at opposition protests, as guests at the U.S. White House, as stars of video games, walking on water, on movie covers, and even with a crowd of naked people.

The administration said in a statement that an internal investigation had been carried out and that the officials responsible for what they described as a "technical error" would be punished, RIA-Novosti reported Wednesday. They did not say how many people would be punished, nor what the penalty would be.

The statement explained that the image appeared on the site after a mock-up of a photo collage was sent through to be posted by accident instead of the original photograph.

The administration also denied suggestions by bloggers and local media that the officials did not attend the event in the image, an athletic competition in early June between 44 teams from around the region held at a stadium in a local village.

Notably, Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church was also embroiled in a Photoshop scandal in April after bloggers noticed that the reflection of his $30,000 Breguet watch appeared in a 2009 photo, while the Patriarch's arm was bare. The church said it was "an absurd mistake by the photo department" and called the photo a “serious violation of our internal ethics.”

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