A Latvian artist exhibited a crucified effigy of Vladimir Putin and reportedly invited visitors to drive nails into the puppet, N-TV reported. The exhibition took place in the courtyard of Riga’s former KGB headquarters.
Whilst some visitors were happy to hammer nails into a representation of the Russian president, others tried to pull them out of the installation.
According to Meduza, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian president was displeased. He told journalists, “This is bad. This is on the conscience of whoever did this. Unquestionably, it does not reflect a very high level of culture.”
Shortly after news of the exhibition had emerged, the Russian embassy filed an official complaint to the Latvian government. However a spokesperson for the Latvian foreign ministry insisted that the effigy did not resemble Putin.
Riga’s pro-Russian mayor Nils Ušakovs said that the courtyard fell under the Latvian Ministry of Culture’s jurisdiction, and claimed Riga’s city council did not sanction the show. He added, flippantly, that the exhibition was proof that it was “still possible to buy street drugs somewhere in this city.”
The Baltic Times reported that the piece was removed on Saturday after a gang assaulted two security guards patrolling the former KGB headquarters and destroyed the artwork.
The artist, who remains anonymous, has since publicly apologized for the stunt claiming that the puppet was not intended to resemble Putin.
Artists have long been a source of frustration for Putin, who routinely imprisons those who criticize him (see Pussy Riot On Art, Activism, and Their Name’s Hilarious Russian Translation and Vladimir Putin Bans Cursing in Art).
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