I guess this is a pretty good example of what you’d call a Pyrrhic victory; sure, you won, but at what cost? Here, the victor is Moscow-based Flying Spaghetti Monster adherent Andrey Filin, and the victory was the right to wear a knitted colander in his driver’s license photo. The Pyrrhic part is this: if he’s stopped driving, he must be wearing a colander on his head, or his license is revoked.

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Pastafarians, as followers of the sort-of-mock quasi-religious movement Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, often show their allegiance to the floating, noodly-appendage’d entity by wearing a pasta strainer on their heads, and have sought to have the right to appear on their driver’s licenses so topped many times before.

Why anyone actually gives a rat’s rectum about what they wear on their heads (provided it doesn’t differ wildly from their ‘normal’ appearance) is sort of beyond me, but it is a big deal to many of the organizations that actually take license photos.

Filin is actually the first Russian and the fifth person worldwide to actually manage to legally have their license photo include the strainer, though Russian officials aren’t exactly sure how or why he was allowed to do so.

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Russian officials look like they’re not going to try and take the license away, but they are making sure that Filin understands that he made this bed, now he has to sleep in it, and they’re not interested in letting him sleep easy.

Russia Times explains the plans of the Moscow State Traffic Inspectorate:

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In keeping with the spirit of the bizarre situation, the deputy head of the Moscow State Traffic Inspectorate, Vladimir Kuzin, responded with his own vision of Filin’s future as a driver. He told Russian media that “the next time he [Filin] is stopped by the traffic police, if he doesn’t have a pasta strainer on his head, his license will be taken from him.”

So, if Filin wants to keep his license, he’ll need to keep either his custom knitted pasta strainer or an actual pasta strainer on his head while he drives. I suspect he could probably just keep one in the car and grab it if he gets pulled over, which doesn’t seem too bad a deal.

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Besides, if he ever had to strain pasta in his car, he’d be ready.

Also in the RT article, they mention that, in a license photo,

In Russia religious headwear is allowed as long as the person’s face is clearly visible.

That would seem to me to make the pasta strainer okay, right? I mean, do you really have to accept the religion of the person holding the license? It’s very tricky to see why this matters so much. If it’s not impinging on the ability to ID you, what’s the big deal, exactly?

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Filin is adamant that he can wear as much or as little on his head as he likes while driving. Of the possible license-revoking threat, Filin told RT

“If they try to take my license away - it will be a scandal. A few lawyers have already offered me their support and I would gladly accept their help.”

This whole business seems like an excellent use of everyone’s time and resources.


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.