A ‘no’ vote in the Russian parliament is unlikely, but some have questioned the timing of the decision to ban the hashtag game ‘Novelty’ from being used by the Kremlin.
“The ban on #Novelity is an attempt to stop #NoDrama and #NoPolitics in Russia,” tweeted Dmitry Mironov, a political commentator.
The hashtag, which began trending in Russia on Tuesday, has become an important tool for Russians in their struggle to oppose President Vladimir Putin’s rule.
Russia’s ruling Communist Party has long criticised the hashtag, calling it an attempt by “anti-Russian forces” to divide the country.
Last month, Moscow’s prosecutor general announced a probe into whether the hashtag violated the law against inciting “foreign aggression”.
However, the ban is unlikely to have a lasting impact, since the hashtag is already used by a wide range of online users, including those who support the Kremlin, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and Australia.
The Kremlin has not commented on the ban.
The decision was made amid a wave of protests against the crackdown on protests in Moscow, which took place over the weekend.
On Monday, opposition leader Alexei Navalny was beaten with a wooden stick and left for dead on the street outside parliament.
In an attempt at defusing the situation, Putin said on Wednesday that “anyone who would use #NoDozVkontakte (the #NoDreamers hashtag) as an instrument of foreign aggression would be dealt with harshly”.
“The only way out is to stop this nonsense, to stop the game,” he said.