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Artist Who Painted Putin in Lingerie Flees Russia, Seeks Asylum in France

Konstantin Altunin, the Russian artist who made headlines this week after his gallery was shut down and paintings depicting Vladimir Putin and PM Dmitry Medvedev in lingerie were seized, has fled Russia and is seeking asylum in France, Radio Free Europe reports:

AltuninIn a telephone interview from Paris, Altunin said he does not want to return to Russia.

"Today, I appealed to the French prefecture in Paris because I have no other [option]. I would gladly get [local residence and work permits] so that I can be useful to France and to work and pay taxes," he said. "But now, I am forced to request political asylum because I fled very quickly without luggage or money."

Altunin says that the gallery's organizers have been arrested:

"The organizers have been arrested, although they have nothing to do with this as it is I who is to blame," Altunin said. "They detained them until 3 o'clock at night, then took them to a police station. There was a young woman among them and they were practically bullying her. What is this?"

Altunin said he had already fled when the police arrived at his apartment to arrest him. He has a wife and  a two-year-old daughter at home:

"My wife is in tears and my 2-year-old child keeps asking where daddy is," he said. "What kind of PR can we talk about here? Of course, deputies simply have nothing better to do than close exhibits and confiscate pictures. This needs no further comment, really. Such a situation is possible only in Russia.” 

The seized paintings also featured the head of the Russian Orthodox Church covered in tattoos, and Vitaly Milonov, co-author of Russia's bill banning gay propaganda, together with a rainbow flag.

Check out the Putin/Medvedev painting below:

Painting_putin

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Comments

  1. So now we can add a Soviet-style pogrom against select members of the Russian arts community by Putin's bigoted government. Welcome to the heinous real world of Russia's GLBT citizens.

    When is the West and the rest of the world going to recognize Russia for the KGB-era throwback state it has become?

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Aug 29, 2013 9:22:35 AM


  2. ""When is the West and the rest of the world going to recognize Russia for the KGB-era throwback state it has become?""

    Gee, that sounds like Reagan-era crazy wing-nut talk that's going to get a nuclear war thing going.

    Posted by: MIke | Aug 29, 2013 9:30:42 AM


  3. Can anyone tell me what the fines/sentences laid out by the law against disrespecting lawmakers is? Seeking asylum seems so drastic, especially since he'd be leaving his wife and young child behind.

    Not trying to victim blame at all because this is obviously super scary and worrying, just trying to get insight on what this guy is up against.

    Posted by: JMC | Aug 29, 2013 9:37:38 AM


  4. Art inspires thinking (sometimes controversy), otherwise why bother. If it's destroyed or filtered to the liking of an individual, then there goes culture with it. I'm not sure an army of cultureless drones will inspire progress.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Aug 29, 2013 9:40:08 AM


  5. a clear case of the need for asylum

    can't imagine a reason for it to not be granted

    Posted by: Moz's | Aug 29, 2013 9:49:54 AM


  6. "Can anyone tell me what the fines/sentences laid out by the law against disrespecting lawmakers is? Seeking asylum seems so drastic, especially since he'd be leaving his wife and young child behind."

    Most likely imprisonment. An anti-Putin blogger named Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years at a forced labor camp on trumped up charges, though he was released while he waits an appeal.

    Posted by: crispy | Aug 29, 2013 9:54:18 AM


  7. Thank you Crispy, that is seriously crazy. I hope he is swiftly granted asylum.

    Posted by: JMC | Aug 29, 2013 9:57:56 AM


  8. My new lock screen!

    @JMC, Pussy Riot got three years for disrespecting the Church.

    Posted by: JJ | Aug 29, 2013 10:10:18 AM


  9. I think the value of that painting just skyrocketed. Lets hope it finds it's way out of Russia and on display somewhere people can see it! If an artist's job is to provoke, this one hit the bull's eye!

    Posted by: Lucas H | Aug 29, 2013 10:32:33 AM


  10. Hey, Mike, your "Reagan-era crazy wing-nut talk" comment has me scratching my head wondering just what nuclear point you're trying to make.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Aug 29, 2013 10:46:00 AM


  11. Russia and the unlamented USSR has always sedition laws. It was a crime to mock the tsar, it was a crime to mock leaders of the Communist party and it remains a crime to mock national political leaders. The only thing new here is the context.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Aug 29, 2013 11:16:16 AM


  12. "It was a crime to mock the tsar, it was a crime to mock leaders of the Communist party and it remains a crime to mock national political leaders. The only thing new here is the context."

    It is how these laws are enforced or not enforced that points to the crisis. Old obscenity laws, for example, that remain on the books for a hundred years and were all but forgotten can be trundled out at the convenience of the gremlins in charge and used against folks.

    Posted by: Tom Chicago | Aug 29, 2013 11:46:57 AM


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