Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding US Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Protest turns deadly as Palestinians rally against Gaza offensive

    Read more

  • Pope meets Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

Europe

'Putin in underwear' artist flees to France

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-08-29

Russian artist Konstantin Altunin fled Russia Tuesday and is now seeking asylum in France after his painting of Vladimir Putin wearing women’s underwear was seized from a St Petersburg museum by police.

Following last year’s arrest and imprisonment of three members of the punk rock protest band Pussy Riot, Russian authorities are once again flexing their muscles when it comes to dissenting members of the country’s artistic community.

This time, it is artist Konstantin Altunin facing the wrath of the Russian police, after he exhibited a painting depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin in women’s underwear.

Fearing arrest, Altunin has now fled Russia and is seeking asylum in France.

The painting, in which Putin was shown playing with the hair of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev - also in women’s underwear - was one of four works seized by Russian police from a small private museum in the city of St Petersburg, host of next week’s G20 summit.

Other artworks taken in the raid included a portrait of politician Vitaly Milonov, one of the architects of Russia’s controversial anti-gay laws, in which he was depicted alongside a rainbow flag - an international symbol of gay pride.

Alerted by a member of the public who believed the paintings were in breach of Russian law, police armed with Kalashnikovs raided the Museum of Power on Tuesday to confiscate the artworks, the museum’s owner Aleksander Donskoi told the AFP news agency.

“Police recommended us not to make a noise about this incident ahead of the G20, but it is scandalous, art has nothing to do with politics,” he said.

Paintings may have violated controversial anti-gay law

Learning that police were also waiting for him at his home, Altunin fled Russia on Tuesday, arriving in the French capital Paris on Wednesday, said Donskoi.

Authorities are currently examining the paintings, but have not yet specified which Russian laws the exhibition violated.

The museum believes, however, that the police may seek to press charges under the country’s recently passed controversial law banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors.

Vitaly Milonov, the author of the law, visited the exhibition “a few days ago”, said Donskoi.

“Milonov came yesterday [Tuesday] evening with the police. He is behind the ban on the exhibition,” he said.

Milonov was quoted by local media as saying that he did not wanted to be painted with “a flag brandished by perverts and HIV-positive sodomites”.

Speaking on St Petersburg’s Echo radio station, the Russian MP dismissed the works of art as "tasteless, at the same level as a yob from a vocational college who scribbles in a toilet at a bus stop".

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-08-29

  • RUSSIA

    In pictures: stars condemn Russia’s ‘anti-gay’ law

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Russian gold medallist insulted by 'gay kiss' claims

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Russia asked to clarify gay law ahead of Sochi Olympics

    Read more

COMMENT(S)