In a move to stop police spending too much time chasing webcam girls (and sometimes allegedly extorting them) rather than finding more serious criminals, Ukrainian lawmakers are looking to decriminalize pornography.

Under current Ukrainian law, you can in theory be sent to prison for up to three years for not only importing, producing, distributing or storing porn, but even for sending or receiving nude photos.

But in a sign this may be about to change, enough members of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, have already signed on to the decriminalization proposal for it to become a draft law, which could then be voted on.

Lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak who is leading the charge for a change in the legislation has described the current rules as “nothing short of stupidity.”

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“From the Soviet Union times, we inherited this norm that one can get up to eight years behind bars if this one happens to send their nudes to another person,” he told Kyiv Post.

“That is, we are not even talking about OnlyFans, but about consuming this content in general.”

While sending a nude photograph to one’s spouse may be unlikely to lead to arrest, even so, Ukrainian police apparently spend a lot of time attempting to root out pornography.

“Our colleagues from BRDO (Better Regulation Delivery Office) calculated that in 2021, law enforcement officers spent about 85,500 working hours on cases related to the distribution of porn. This is approximately a year of daily work without holidays by 41 investigators,” Zheleznyak wrote on his Telegram channel.

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And according to the explanatory note for the proposed draft law, 704,667 people received a court summons in 2022 for charges that fall under Article 301 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code, which pertains to pornography.

 

Along with taking up a lot of law enforcement’s time – Ukraine’s fight against pornography also presents opportunities for corruption, Zheleznyak said.

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Laws on production of pornography: GREEN - Generally legal with certain extreme exceptions such like animal pornography and child pornography. YELLOW - Partially Legal, under some broad restrictions, or ambiguous status. RED - Illegal.

One of the problems of the current legislation is that law enforcement officers, namely cyber police officers, correspond with users of pornographic platforms – for example, those that strip for clients on webcams. They pretend to be customers and then offer them “cover” for a price, he said.

And although the topic of pornography is taboo in Ukrainian society, thousands of Ukrainians benefit from the production of porn.

Ukraine received more than Hr. 34 million (about $920,000) in taxes for six months in 2023 from OnlyFans and social networks with intimate content, Zheleznyak said.

“We receive their tax money, but anyway put them behind bars,” he said.

Meanwhile, there are those that openly collect money for the Armed Forces by showing off their bodies.

One of these groups is the charity project Teronlyfans.

“This is a good representation of the role of the body in war. As citizens of Ukraine, our primary responsibility is to provide our soldiers with everything they need,” Teronlyfans Executive Director Anastasia Kuchmenko told Kyiv Post.

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With Teronlyfans, people are asked to donate money to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and IDPs (internally displaced people). Then admirers send screenshots of their donations and get a spicy photo in return.

“From the very beginning, we have been trying to operate within the law. Hence, no money flows through us, and we work with erotic and not pornographic content,” Kuchmenko said.

“But if one would like to prosecute, and one did not turn a blind eye to it, then we would fall under the articles.

“The open-to-interpretation Articles 301 and 302 make every second citizen of Ukraine a ‘pornographer’ for lack of a better term. That’s why we took part in making changes to the bill – it is a matter of basic human rights,” said Kuchmenko.

Zheleznyak said: “If we follow the letter of the law, we should imprison, for example, Sasha Grey. Or the artists who paint naked human bodies. Our law enforcement officers try to jail them as well.”

But Zheleznyak’s Telegram channel had its share of detractors.

 

“This is worse than alcohol dependence. People masturbate rather than engage in creating a family and raising a healthy generation,” one user wrote on People’s Deputy of Ukraine Yaroslav Zheleznyak’s Telegram channel.

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“The same people that are for the legalization of LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders) are for the legalization of porn. This will lead to great problems and the degradation of the nation,” one user wrote.

 

Others complained that the topic was inappropriate for wartime.

 

“Insanity! Let’s welcome this issue to the forefront (of the legislative agenda)!” one user wrote sarcastically.

Even though the collection of signatures among legislators will continue until Friday, Aug. 18, the signatures needed for the registration of the bill in the Verkhovna Rada have already been collected.

Zheleznyak jokingly said that this is because its “voters are also active consumers of pornographic content.”

After the draft law is registered, it will go through a committee for any changes or recommendations.

If it needs no amendments, it will go to the full parliament for a vote and then be presented to President Volodymyr Zelensky for his signature.

The bill does not apply to – and preserves the current version of regulations – pertaining to criminal responsibility for child pornography, human trafficking, pimping, or involving a person in prostitution.

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Comments (4)

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Hugh
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Ukraine should tweak the laws, not abolish porn. Given the people who are in trouble & the corruption still in Ukraine, mobsters & traffickers will use the $$ they earn from porn to bribe police to look the other way when they Traffic Girls.

It's already happened in the U.S. & hard enough for law enforcement here to deal with it, it'll be MUCH worse in Ukraine:

"Twenty-Year Sentence in GirlsDoPorn Sex Trafficking Conspiracy"
https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdca/pr/twenty-year-sentence-girlsdoporn-sex-trafficking-conspiracy

Hugh
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Would help to have an edit button. I meant "not LEGALIZE porn" for the reasons in the link.

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gavan duffy
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Pornography always involves exploitation of someone and erodes society values. Ukraine has enough problems without adding to them. Ukraine should keep porn and the LGBTQ ideology out as Poland and Hungary have done to the benefit of their society.

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Philip Tummarello
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Pornography is a contributing factor to rapes and other sexual crimes. The break down of traditional moral codes which lead to objectification of others simply for sexual gratification would have devastating impacts on Ukrainian men, women, and children.

Secondly, viewing pornography triggers the pleasure centers in the brain so strongly, it exceeds the desire to repeat the event provided to cocaine users. This is why there are so very many destructive additions to pornography in men AND women, but men are leading in this to date.

Viewing a naked picture is not in and of itself pornographic, unless it involves underage males and females. The west, particularly in the United States in places like California, previous laws requiring ten year age differences between teen age and adult people are under attack for being "too strict".

In my opinion, sexual exploitation of children will continue to grow until sex with children will become legalized within the next ten to fifteen years. The narcotic cartels in Mexico, Triads in Asia, and criminal organizations in russia, will only continue to profit more from sexual trafficking of children. Pornography makes the unthinkable, "tolerable", then "normalized" and finally legalized.

I offer this as a retired Police Inspector of the San Francisco Police Department's Child and Adult Sexual Crime Units. Keep Ukraine civilized, and keep pornography out.

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Cedar
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Adults should be trusted to create sexual relations with other consenting adults. However, Ukrainians should be aware that the ready availability of pornography may well damage relationships, and worryingly, give adolescents fantasy images of what such relationships should be. Pornographers infiltrate intimacy, & shape it to commercial purposes.

Better, I think, for real people to communicate with their peers honestly and lovingly, and choose to keep out both the government, and those who commodify & corrupt. The nation will need to be rebuilt, and strong partnerships, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are the bedrock of a stable society. Given the loss of abducted children, & the war-related deaths & exiles, relationships which produce children may seem preferable for the immediate future.

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