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Russian Deputy Calls to Prosecute Feminists After Viral ‘Manspreading’ Video

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An ultraconservative Russian lawmaker has called for women who “propagate feminism” to be criminally penalized following the publication of a viral video in which an activist douses 'manspreading' passengers in public transport.

Anna Dovgalyuk, 20, uploaded a video of herself splashing diluted bleach on the pants of seemingly unsuspecting men sitting with their legs spread wide on the St. Petersburg metro. Dovgalyuk defended her campaign against what she called the “disgusting” act of manspreading after facing accusations that her “manifesto” was staged and the manspreading passengers were paid actors.

“Feminism is insanity from the standpoint of a normal person,” said Vitaly Milonov, a State Duma deputy known for his anti-gay stance, in an interview with the Moskva news agency.

“I believe that feminism should be classified as an absolutely radical point of view and the propaganda of feminism should amount to a violation of Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code,” he said.

Article 282 carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison for individuals who incite racial, religious or other forms of hate. The chairman of Russia’s Supreme Court recently estimated that more than 500 people have been charged with the offense last year, up from 100 in 2016.

One of those who is currently being prosecuted for her feminist views is blogger Lyubov Kalugina. She was charged with extremism on Sept. 4 after an unidentified man complained that her social media posts offended him as a male.

Dovgalyuk responded to Milonov’s charges on Instagram, asking the lawmaker “are you sure you’re qualified in this issue?”

Dovgalyuk has previously staged a protest against upskirting, or secretly taking photos up women's skirts, in the St. Petersburg metro.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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