Does a current censorship trial in Moscow indicate a return to the old Soviet ways of doing things, although it’s a newly resurgent Russian Orthodox Church we’re talking about here? A 2007 exhibit featuring some controversial art (such as the painting above, and another of Mickey Mouse as Lenin) was supposed to be against censorship of the arts, but has instead turned its curators into the poster boys for religious censorship. Now, after a 14-month trial, Yury Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev face up to three years in prison:
Even Russia’s culture minister says the two men did nothing to break the law against inciting religious hatred.
But the prosecutors refuse to back down and have demanded a three-year prison sentence when the judge makes her ruling on July 12.
The exhibit “Forbidden Art” at the Sakharov Museum, a human rights center named after celebrated dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov, featured several paintings with images of Jesus Christ.
In one, Christ appeared to his disciples as Mickey Mouse. In another, of the crucifixion, the head of Christ was replaced by the Order of Lenin medal, the highest award of the Soviet Union.
The directors of the exhibit were unprepared for the amount of hate it has generated in Russia, a country that was considered officially “atheist” during the era of the Soviet Union. Now it appears there is less separation between church and state in Russia than in the US of A. I doubt that painting would merit more that a few disgruntled remarks, even in the deep South!
Moscow curators face 3 years in prison (Associated Press)