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MMA Fighter Jeff Monson Receives Russian Citizenship for Christmas

Mixed-martial artist Jeff Monson, who sports a hammer-and-sickle tattoo on his calf, received a Russian passport and will participate in a fight on Christmas Day.

“It’s true that my request to receive Russian citizenship has been approved,” he said. “Now I need to wait for a couple of days and wait for my passport. However, all of the necessary signatures have been taken care of.”

He joins boxer Roy Jones, Jr., who obtained a Russian passport in August. Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst also voiced his desire to hold a Russian passport.

Monson holds victories over Roy Nelson, Ricco Rodriguez, Sergei Kharitonov, Mark Kerr, and Alexey Oleinik. He also fought at a high enough level to compete against such great mixed-martial artists such as Fedor Emelianenko,  Pedro Rizzo, Daniel Cormier, and Chuck Liddell. During his time in the UFC, the stocky heavyweight challenged the towering Tim Sylvia for the belt.

The fighter does not hide his hatred of U.S. foreign policy, often tweeting insensitive pictures.

Monson identifies as an anarchist, but posts pictures of the USSR with the infamous flag decorated with the sickle and hammer.

He often shows a rebellious attitude towards government, even sports a tattoo that says, “DESTROY AUTHORITY.” This is ironic since Russian President Vladimir Putin rules with absolute authority and does not allow room for any criticism or lifestyles that contradict his own. The fist has only clenched tighter since the relationship between Russia and the West dipped to Cold War levels after Russian forces invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea.

In the summer of 2013, Putin came under fire in June 2013 when he signed the anti-gay propaganda law. The law banned people from handing out “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. It also made it “illegal to equate straight and gay relationships, as well as the distribution of material on gay rights.” Vitaly Milonov, the architect of the propaganda law, wants Russia to outlaw HBO’s popular Game of Thrones for its themes of incest, homosexuality, and rape. Conditions for openly gay and lesbian Russians remain so dire that America is experiencing a surge in the number of LGBT Russians seeking asylum. In May, Russian police arrested seventeen people at a gay flashmob in Moscow, according to reports. Reuters reported that more than 50 people attended the flashmob, “but crowd control police drove up a bus and started shoving the protesters inside before they managed to unfurl any banners or chant any slogans.”

In April, Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media watchdog group, updated a “personal data” law to allow for the government to regulate and ban memes using the likenesses of public personalities, including President Vladimir Putin. Macro images featuring Putin have become increasingly popular on the internet. The law now prohibits memes that “do not represent the personality.” According to them, the memes “violate the laws governing personal data and harm the honour, dignity and business of public figures.”

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