Fake Photo-Ops, Media Censorship, Pussy Riot and More Reasons Putin Deserves the Cold Shoulder

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years in jail Thursday. He was charged with theft, but many say the real reason he's being punished is his intention to run against Putin in the next election. "With today's ruling," Nemtsov told Reuters, "Putin has told the whole world he is a dictator who sends his political opponents to prison." Photo: Valya V, Flickr

He locks up his political opponents before they can run against him

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years in jail Thursday. He was charged with theft, but many say the real reason he's being punished is his intention to run against Putin in the next election. "With today's ruling," Nemtsov told Reuters, "Putin has told the whole world he is a dictator who sends his political opponents to prison." Photo: Valya V, Flickr

He's made protests as good as illegal

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Putin's administration doesn't just arrest opposition leaders. They've put countless ordinary protesters behind bars for crimes as simple as wearing a white ribbon symbolic of the opposition movement, or looking "young and hip." Often, these protestors are severely beaten by riot police.

He Says Pussy Riot "Got What They Deserved"

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When punk rock protest group Pussy Riot performed anti-Putin songs at a demonstration, three of the band's members were put in jail for charges of "hooliganism." Despite widespread international protests, two members of Pussy Riot remain incarcerated. Still, even Putin's crackdown isn't enough to keep them down: Pussy Riot released a new music video Tuesday accusing Putin of cronyism, propaganda, and homophobia.

His new Anti-Gay Law is Incredibly Harsh

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Last month, Putin's Kremlin government passed a severe anti-gay law that made it illegal to host any kind of public event celebrating homosexuality, or provide any kind of support to Russian LGBT youths. When gay Russians and their allies protested the new ban, they were met with extreme violence from Russian police and Putin's Kremlin supporters.

He's Put an End to Press Freedom

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Before elections, Putin cracked down on independent media channels, leaving Russians with no choice but to get their news from state television. Some are worried that the state's recent decision to begin censoring certain online content "for the sake of children" could prove to be a slippery slope towards total media censorship.

He Creates Vain, Fake Photo Ops

Putin finally admitted that many of his macho moments caught on camera were actually staged. We highly recommend this list of 39 of his most ridiculous photos.

He supports his fellow dictators

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Putin has called Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime a "legitimate government," despite the fact that it has been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of the country's own citizens. Along with Iran and China, Russia has kept Syria's economy afloat and stood in the way of global intervention in its bloody civil war.

President vs. President

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Obama's in such a huff about Edward Snowden's little Russian holiday that he's gone so far as to cancel his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. We can think of a handful of issues that are probably a little more worthy of President Obama's attention. Click on to see the reasons why we'd consider Putin a dictator: