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Russia Launches Criminal Case Against U.S. Rock Band CNN

Russia has launched a criminal case against an American rock band. CNN reports that Russia is incensed by an incident involving the band Bloodhound Gang in which one of the band members reportedly "stuffed the Russian flag into his pants, pulled it out his backside and whipped it between his legs."

"A musician told the audience, 'Don't tell Putin,' and then tossed the flag into the audience at a concert Wednesday in Odessa, Ukraine," the story reports. "RIA Novosti reported that Russia's Interior Ministry has issued a statement saying that a 'specialized investigative unit' within the ministry 'launched a criminal case regarding desecration of the national flag.'"

The band, which is known for its provocative material, reportedly left Russia Sunday. The group had a hit in 1999 with "The Bad Touch," the piece notes.

"The stunt was caught on video and posted to YouTube. It went viral in the Ukraine and Russia, and was flooded with angry Russian-language comments," CNN reports. "Journalists later quoted the band as saying that all items that the band throws into the crowd must first pass through the bassist's pants."

The group had been scheduled to perform this week at the Kubana rock festival, near the southern Russian Black Sea resort of Anapa, the report notes, but RIA Novosti reported that the group was "deported."

CNN reports: "The band told CNN that it left Russia and was not deported. They said they canceled their concert at the festival. A member of the band's crew, who asked to not be named for security reasons, told CNN the band was attacked Saturday by Russian nationalists inside Anapa airport in Krasnodar Krai.

"The band members were 'beaten up' by a crowd of men who punched and kicked them, the crew member said, adding that some of the attackers had whips."

No one was seriously injured, according to the report, which adds that "a Russian police guard was accompanying them as they waited to leave."

CNN adds: "RIA Novosti reported Monday that Russia's Criminal Code states that 'foreign nationals ... who commit a crime beyond the boundaries of the Russian Federation are subject to criminal liability in line with this code if their crime is aimed against the interests of the Russian Federation or a Russian national.'"

According to the Russian criminal code, desecration of the Russian flag can reportedly bring a one-year prison sentence.

Here's one of a number of videos that have surfaced in connection with the incident: