I’ve refrained from comment on the events in Russia, to this point because — frankly — I felt others were doing such a tremendously wonderful job of it already; I could think of nothing to add. Bravo to Amsterdam and their flying of Pride flags from the government building when Putin (it was Putin, not some Ambassador, right?) came to visit. Kudos to whoever was responsible for the rainbow crosswalk in front of the Russian embassy.
Of course, too, shame on Russia for this unconscionable law of their’s!
Then I read about this art exhibit thing, and decided that I did have something to say and contribute.
I’ve checked, and discovered — to my deep disappointment — that none of my sales channels include Russia. I know, in this day of the internet, that Russians can probably get the book through various of my American, EU, UK, Australian, etc. channels. For example an Aussie purchased my Kobo edition via the US store. The thing is, sometimes for various reasons these transactions are not possible from certain countries. Anyone know if Russians can use other countries’ eBook stores?
Makes me wish I had a Russian language edition.
Then again, I’m not entirely sure how this law works. Would it only be I who was the Russian criminal, and not my reader? If so then absolutely! For that I’d learn the language and do the translating myself! If the reader would be in trouble too (the articles I’ve read indicate that no matter how things go, I’d be ranked guilty of criminal offense — c’est la vie), then I hope that my book is not easily obtainable in Russia and that any Russians who find my work are either sensible enough to use discretion, or to think carefully about what they’re doing if they’re going to be indiscreet. Protest is all fine and well, and to be encouraged; getting yourself arrested for reading a lesbian romance because you told the wrong person about the story or talked too loudly where the wrong people can hear … let’s no one be that person, shall we?
On a related, if tangential, note — I think the painting below is actually rather good. I’m not sure, given what the article says the painting represents, that I fully understand the meaning it’s attempting to convey, but it’s rather striking and interesting even if you haven’t the slightest idea who the two are or what the artist was trying to portray with them. I hope it isn’t the Russian legal authority’s wont to destroy such works once they’re finished their criminal proceedings.
Photo: Museum of Authority
On Tuesday, police raided an exhibit at St. Petersburg’s Museum of Authority, taking several works of art. Among them was a portrait of Vladimir Putin in a negligee and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sporting a busty female body. The police, apparently, did not see the humor in the satirical painting. The artist has fled the country in the interest of safety: he fears criminal charges as authorities “have already said directly that my exhibition is extremist,” Agence France Presse reported.
The artist, Konstantin Altunin, might have been right in his assumption that getting out of town was the best plan of action. Earlier this summer, Russia passed a law that, effectively, outlawed any discussion or representation of homosexuality. In late July, Dutch filmmakers became the first tourists arrested under the new law, Salon reports, after they were caught interviewing young people about their views on homosexuality for a documentary they’re making about human rights. One of the other paintings Altunin contributed to the exhibit—at the gallery’s request—was of a lawmaker who had led push to ban “gay propaganda,” (Continued: Russian Authorities Are Deciding If It’s Illegal to Paint Putin in a Negligee | Smart News.)
- Russian Artist Who Painted Putin In Lingerie Flees, Fearing Arrest (rferl.org)
- Painting Vladimir Putin in Lingerie is Illegal in Russia (factsplosion.wordpress.com)
- Artist Of Painting Showing Putin In Lingerie Reportedly Flees Russia – Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com)
- Russian police seize painting of Putin and Prime Minister in women’s underwear (queerlandia.com)
- ‘Putin in underwear’ artist seeks asylum in France (thenewstribe.com)