Russia Cops Seize Painting of Putin in a Nightie

Govt. not laughing, shuts down gallery that mocked anti-gay law

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 28, 2013 2:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – Looks like Russian authorities will no longer allow mockery to be used as a weapon by those opposed to the country's anti-gay law. Police swooped on a newly opened art gallery in St. Petersburg yesterday and removed several paintings, including one depicting Vladimir Putin wearing a nightie as he brushes the hair of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is clad in a bra and panties, Reuters reports. Paintings poking fun at the anti-gay law and at the head of the Russian Orthodox church were also seized.

The owner of the "Museum of Authority" says police officers shut down his gallery and didn't give him an explanation for the seizure—or a receipt for the petty cash they took. "I'm very afraid in this situation," he tells the Wall Street Journal. "Because today the authorities can do whatever they want." The police say they raided the gallery after receiving complaints about illegal paintings. It's not clear what laws were broken, although insulting the authorities is a crime that carries up to a one-year sentence in Russia.

An activist holds a placard depicting Putin in make-up at a protest in London earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Insulting this man can get you jailed in Russia.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
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