The Cold War may be over and the Iron Curtain lifted but Russia is just as totalitarian and oppressive as the old Soviet Union. The Washington Post has a story about severe punishments for mocking Putin or simply “liking” the wrong things on social media.

Russia has banned a picture depicting President Vladimir Putin as a potentially gay clown.

Russian news outlets are having trouble reporting exactly which image of the Internet’s many Putin-gay-clown memes is now illegal to share. Because, you know, it’s been banned.

But the picture was described last week on the Russian government’s list of things that constitute “extremism.”

“Potentially” gay? That’s sort of like calling the fire that brought down I-85 in Atlanta “potentially” hot. I think the word WaPo was looking for was “obviously.”

Sentencing people to compulsory psychiatric care is classic Soviet era double talk for imprisonment and torture for purposes of “reeducating” people.

Russia passed its first “Internet extremism” laws in 2013, according to the Moscow Times — a year after Putin returned to the presidency and began restricting civil rights.

A year later, the paper reported, Putin signed a law imposing prison sentences for people who give so much as thumbs-up to a forbidden online post. Those include an article about a theoretical coup, which landed a philosophy professor in detention.

Some punishments are less severe.

Last year, United Press International and other outlets reported on a single mother sentenced to community service for reposting a cartoon of Putin looking at a map with a knife in his hand. And a former naval captain from Rostov who reposted an antiwar report about Ukraine got a two-year suspended sentence and one year of probation for inciting hatred and animosity.

This is of course what results from “political correctness” being taken to its logical end. Suppressing speech and thought deemed inappropriate is already the aim of our own political left here in the U.S.

It makes me wonder why the Democrats are so hellbent on tarring President Trump with Russian associations. They were big fans of the Soviet Union back in the day, and they’ve only become more extreme in their leftism since then. If anything, their flip flop is another sign that their only real goal is to delegitimize the election and Trump’s presidency.