Ukraine outlaws possession of porn, but can't define what it is

Make love, not porn, because if you live in the Ukraine, you'll get fined and sent to jail. Tuesday, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a bill into law, making the possession of pornography a criminal offense in the country.

I first heard of the report while watching the Russian news network last night and my immediate reaction was: "WTF?" Thinking the announcement couldn't possibly be true and must have been Russia's unfunny way of mocking my birth country, I hopped onto the Internets, only to find --10 seconds later -- reports of the aforementioned law.

"But what constitutes 'pornography' in the Ukraine?" I wondered. And the only definition I could find was one claimed by XBizNewswire to have been featured in the 2003 legislation, which states, "Pornography is vulgar, candid, cynical, obscene depiction of sexual acts, pursuing no other goal, the explicit demonstration of genitals, unethical elements of the sexual act, sexual perversions, realistic sketches that do not meet moral criteria and offend honor and dignity of the human by inciting low instincts." Hmmm.Not at allsubjective.

If this definition of pornography does not change, anything from acclaimed art and classical literature to adult magazines and X-Rated films could be considered pornography. Quick, Ukrainian art enthusiasts, hide your copies of Michelangelo Buonarroti's "The Creation of Eve," and Francisco de Goya's "La maja desnuda!" I see "explicit demonstration of genitals!" Who cares if these paintings have been treasured by the world for centuries? They "offend honor and dignity of the human!"

And perhaps book burning will follow? Watch out Harlequin, as you might lose an enormous population of bored, life-hating, Russian-speaking grandmothers with nothing to do but to sit outside on benches and devour your steamy romance novels, visualizing the passionate sex scenes between a blue-eyed, silky-haired hunk and a soft-spoken but well-endowed damsel.

I'm curious how the government is planning to catch individuals who own this poorly defined "pornography." Will there be spies and surveillance cameras? And will the porno-police come bursting through doors screaming, "I give you two seconds to put down that dirty magazine and raise your right hand before I shoot!" God forbid a family watches a taping of the mother giving birth at this time! Someone should send out a memo to all expecting parents in the Ukraine planning on videotaping the births of their offspring to make the genitals not seem so explicit; otherwise, mom and dad might face up to three years in the slammer.

According to, The Ukrainian Ministry of Justice said that individuals may keep pornographic paraphernalia as long as it is used "for medical purposes." I would love for the Ukrainian government to hold a press conference and provide a detailed list of sufficient maladies that would earn one the privilege of keeping hardcore porn videos, copies of Playboy magazines, salacious comic books and erotic art. Perhaps, photos of nude women have a therapeutic effect on people chronically depressed from a longing for a playmate. Or maybe, plot-less sex scenes suppress flu symptoms.

Oh, how dare I sound so cynical? President Yushchenko is right. My birth country is too pure for such smut! We must think of the children, right? Because surely, fining people for possession of a Playboy magazine or an adult home video is the proper way to fix a struggling nation. It's not like the Ukraine suffers from an overwhelming prostitution rate due to a spike in sex tourism or from a dysfunctional government and a collapsing economy. No. No. Dirty magazines are leading the country down the drain, and so they have to go.

What do you think of President Yushchenko's decision to outlaw the possession of pornography in the Ukraine? Should such a law be passed in the United States?

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