Russian Artist Who Painted Putin in Lingerie Flees Country and Seeks Asylum

Screen Cap via New York Mag.
Screen Cap via New York Mag.

A Russian artist who caused a stir this week in Russia by painting President Putin in lingerie has fled the country after the government seized his work and threatened him with arrest. On August 26, the police confiscated several of Konstantin Altunin’s works that were political satires of the President along with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and those that passed the anti-gay propaganda laws. While Altunin defended his work as artistic freedom and free speech, he said the response from Russian authorities has been “very unpleasant and very ugly.” The organizers of the exhibit were soon arrested after the police seized the artwork. “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?”

Today, in a telephone interview, Altunin confirms that he has fled the country and is now seeking asylum in France. “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.” [RFERL]

 

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