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Moscow art curators anger Russian Orthodox church but escape jail

By Reuters Staff
July 12, 2010

moscow artTwo art curators have been found guilty in Moscow of inciting religious hatred in a case that has highlighted the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox church and its links to the Russian government.

Yuri Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev must pay fines of 200,000 roubles ($6,477) and 150,000 roubles, respectively, to the state for their 2007 Forbidden Art exhibit, which mixed religious icons with sexual and pop-culture images. 

(Photo: Yuri Samodurov leaves the courtroom, July 12, 2010/Denis Sinyakov)

Among the art on display in the exhibit were works depicting an Orthodox icon adorned with Mickey Mouse, a Russian general raping a soldier, and a Soviet-era Order of Lenin medal over Christ’s head. Leading cultural figures had appealed to President Dmitry Medvedev to drop the charges, saying it heralded a new era of censorship.

Outside the court, men clad in black leather jackets raised icons and crosses and two priests looked on in silence as Samodurov and Yerofeyev emerged from the courtroom. Mikhail Nalimov, head of the United Orthodox Youth movement, told reporters in court the curators should be sent into exile.

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