Russian politician to face court for Putin speech noodle video

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Putin delivers his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow

(Reuters) - A Russian regional politician will appear in court next week to face accusations that he discredited the armed forces by posting a video of himself listening to President Vladimir Putin's state of the nation speech with spaghetti draped over his ear.

The video referred to the Russian saying that when noodles have been hung on someone's ear, that person has been strung along or deceived.

Mikhail Abdalkin, a Communist party lawmaker in the Samara regional parliament, said on social media on Thursday that the Novokuybyshev city court would hear his case on March 7. His party had already previously reprimanded him.

"We will fight to prove our non-involvement and innocence," he added.

Since invading Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has intensified a clamp down on public dissent, establishing fines and potentially giving prison sentences for discrediting the armed forces by expressing negative opinions.

Putin's address on Feb. 21, which lasted almost two hours, included no major policy announcements other than suspending Russia's participation in its last nuclear arms control treaty with the U.S.

When Abdalkin posted his video shortly afterwards on "V Kontakte", Russia's equivalent of Facebook, he added a caption saying he had been asked to watch the speech by the deputy chair of the Samara parliament.

"I'm in full support, totally agree, great performance," he added. "I haven't heard anything like it in the last 23 years. Pleasantly surprised."

(Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Josie Kao)