Artist who painted Putin in underwear flees Russia

A visitor photographs "Travesty" by Konstantin Altunin, who has fled Russia to seek asylum in France.

In danger of arrest for breaking Russian laws that forbid insulting politicians, an artist who painted President Putin in women's undies has fled to France.

MOSCOW  — 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 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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