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Artist who painted Putin in underwear flees Russia

Associated Press

Publication: theday.com

Published August 28. 2013 1:49PM   Updated August 28. 2013 2:38PM
Yelena Palm/AP Photo
In this photo taken on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, a visitor photographs the artwork entitled "Travesty" by Konstantin Altunin at an exhibition at the Muzei Vlasti in St. Petersburg, Russia. Four controversial paintings satirizing Russian politicians were removed from the exhibition on Tuesday, Aug. 27 and the artist of the works fled Russia to ask for asylum abroad.

MOSCOW (AP) — A museum director says an artist whose paintings depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in women's undergarments has fled the country.

The director of St. Petersburg's Museum of Power, Tatiana Titova, said Wednesday that Konstantin Altunin left for France and was planning to request asylum there. Authorities removed four of Altunin's satirical depictions of Russian politicians on Monday and shut down the exhibition.

A police statement did not specify which laws may have been violated by the provocative works. A Russian law prohibits insulting state authorities. Another law bans so-called homosexual propaganda aimed at minors.

Last year, an exhibit that depicted members of the Pussy Riot punk band as holy icons drew the ire of religious and pro-government activists, who came to protest the exhibition's opening.

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