MOSCOW — A bill was submitted to Russia's parliament Monday proposing that a fine be imposed "for reading erotic and pornographic publications in public places," according to Russian news sources.

Drafted by United Russia party MP Robert Schlegel, the bill proposes fines of up to 1,000 rubles ($41) for the offense. It also calls for a fine on transporting erotic materials in transparent packets, and an amendment to the media law prohibiting the reading of such materials in public places.

Artemy Troitsky, head of Playboy Russia, told Interfax news agency that he felt the bill was introduced because members of parliament "have nothing to do. This county has a great number of problems and implicitly important laws to be adopted, and they propose pointless projects. I would unseat them for such initiations."

While Troitsky conceded that "[t]here is a rational kernel in certain restrictions on publishing pornography," he remarked that "Playboy, to say nothing of magazines [such as] Maxim, are not pornography. It is so-called 'lifestyle' rather than even erotic. The ban on erotic publications is absolutely absurd under this context."

Russian criminal code contains a virtually unenforced article against "the production, circulation or advertising of pornographic works ... and also the trading therein or the possession with the goal of sale or dissemination."