A Russian government media regulator is investigating an upcoming Avengers comic as “propaganda of a cult of violence,” possibly resulting in an official warning to Swedish publisher Egmont which distributes the books in Russia. The government is particularly concerned about the character Vanguard, who bears a Soviet hammer and sickle on his chest, and his fighting companions the Winter Guard.
Another government office, Rospechat or the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Media, requested that the state media watchdog Roskomnadzor “review…the children’s magazine The Avengers” for “the use of Soviet symbols, the presentation of the characters as Russian service personnel, and the incitement of violence and cruelty.”
Since publishers are only allowed two warnings per year before their license is revoked and they are barred from doing business in Russia at all, the Moscow Times reports that Egmont is leaning towards editing out the Soviet symbols and the mention that the Winter Guard are “servants of the Russian Federation” before releasing the comic as scheduled in August.
We need your help to keep fighting for the right to read! Help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by visiting the Rewards Zone, making a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF!
Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.