Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Portrait Of Putin In Woman's Slip Gets Russian Gallery Owner In Trouble

Some satirical portraits of Russian high-ranking politicians has landed a St Petersburg art gallery (Museum of Authorities) in major trouble.  Owner Aleksandr Donskoi's latest exhibition was raided, 4 paintings were confiscated, and the gallery was subsequently shut down.

One of the portraits that was seized was this one:

That's supposedly Vladimir Putin in a slip fussing with the hair of a bra and panty-clad Dmitry Medvedev. Not a great likeness of either, but some were not amused.

Donskoi believes the raid was initiated by Vitaly Milonov, a local lawmaker who has actively backed a new law targeting homosexuals in Russia.

"Vitaly Milonov arrived with a group of police officers, FSB officials, and representatives of the Prosecutor-General's Office," he said. "They shut down the museum on the grounds that it displayed works that are blasphemous and extremist."

One of the seized paintings depicts Milonov himself -- who has described the images as "pornographic" -- against a backdrop of the gay-rights movement's rainbow flag.

The other two were of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill with tattoos, and Yelena Mizulina who also supports the banning of homosexual propaganda.

The portrait artist Konstantin Altunin has asked France for political asylum after his wife informed him of a police van waiting for him at home.  Donskoi is also scared.

This type of offense- insulting officials- can net up to a year in jail.  Donskoi plans on appealing to the European Court of Human Rights re. his right to free speech (which still doesn't fully exist in that country- see Pussy Riot):

"I don't know where to file a complaint because all the power structures work together," he said. "The judicial defers to the executive, and so on. This was a sanctioned move. So I hope I can find a lawyer who will help me lodge an application in Strasbourg. This is the only court that would consider this case, which is riddled with violations."

More at RFE/RL

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