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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Seek Rules for Porn Busts

Moscow police are stepping up their fight against illegal pornography — shutting down underground studios and child-pornography web sites — but they are having trouble deciding exactly what pornography is.

Police recently have closed down a studio producing pornographic videotapes, confiscated 1,200 cassettes and pulled the plug on 17 web sites offering child pornography, Moscow police officials said at a news conference Thusday.

However, the police crusade has been guided more by notions of good and evil than legislation that clearly says what pornography is. There is legislation in place that defines pornography, but it is several years old and is of little help, police say.

There are cases that are relatively easy for the police to discern. But it is often hard to determine what is illegal and what is not, officials say, meaning officers should rely on the judgement of experts.

"Most of the time we work together with cultural organizations" to decide what is pornography and what isn't, said Valery Tsvetkov, head of a division of the Moscow police's department for fighting economic crime. Movie experts such as members of the Cinematography Institute often participate, he said.

Special commissions are being organized to set standards for determining what is illegal, but in the meantime police will continue the raids.

So far, only three producers have been charged, the police said.