Since he became president of Russia in 2012, Vladimir Putin has imposed many laws restricting people's freedoms. For instance, in 2013 the country passed their “Internet Extremism” law. It said that the government could block websites deemed “extreme,” based on whatever criteria they want.
Also in 2013, Russia passed a law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” In other words, it was law meant to keep homosexuality hidden as much as possible. And as you would expect, many weren't happy with the law.
As part of the “Internet Extremism” law, certain images are added to the list of things that are banned. One new addition to the list states: “Item 4071: a picture of a Putin-like person “with eyes and lips made up,” captioned with an implicit anti-gay slur, implying “the supposed nonstandard sexual orientation of the president of the Russian Federation.” But what is this photo they are so upset about?
The image is number 4,071 on Russia's list of banned images. The court records said that the photo “hints at the Russian president’s allegedly nonstandard sexual orientation.” But now that shouldn't be an issue for Putin, because the photo is banned.
Here's someone wearing a mask that appears to depict Putin as a gay clown. It's not quite clear at the moment if the mask is illegal. But taking a picture of the mask and posting it online probably is. Because then it would be an online photo of Putin as a gay clown.
On the other hand, maybe the Putin clown picture isn't banned after all. A Kremlin spokesperson said he wasn't even familiar with the photo in question. But he believed that Putin would not actually be upset about the photo of him as a gay clown. So maybe you can try going up to Putin with a photo of him as a gay clown, and see if he actually approves.
Also, you can look at this photo of Putin all you want. He's okay with people seeing him shirtless. But he might not be okay if he was shirtless with another man, especially if either man was also seen as some sort of gay clown.
But can Putin be seen as things other than a gay clown? Is it okay to depict him as a gay construction worker, or maybe a gay magician? We're not entirely sure. So you'd better play it safe and only look at these photos while you're outside of Russia's borders.