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Not amused: Russians confiscate portrait of panty-clad Putin

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Brendan Bordelon Contributor
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Say what you want about Vladimir Putin, but the man sure can rock a pink negligee.

The Guardian reports that police in St. Petersburg removed a painting of the Russian president clad in women’s underwear from an art gallery on Monday, claiming that the portrait broke Russian law.

In the satirical showcase, Putin wears pink lingerie while brushing the hair of former President Dmitry Medvedev, who gazes shamelessly at the viewer while wearing nothing but a lacy blue bra and panties.

A St. Petersburg politician, who was himself mocked in another confiscated gallery painting, said the images were “of a distinctly pornographic character.”

Alexander Donskoy, the gallery’s owner, said police shut his business down without telling him what laws had been broken.

“This is an [illegal] seizure,” he said. “We have been given no formal documents banning us from operating and no receipt confirming our petty cash was seized.”

Konstantin Altunin's painting of Vladimir Putin

Konstantin Altunin’s painting of Vladimir Putin

The art gallery potentially ran afoul of two Russian laws, one against insulting authorities and another banning “gay propaganda.”

While spreading gay propaganda may result in a hefty fine, mocking both a former and current president could land Donskoy in jail for up to a year.

The painting was one of four removed from the edgy exhibition. Others included the leader of the Orthodox Church shirtless and covered in tattoos, while others derided Russian legislators who supported the nation’s law on gay propaganda.

The situation in Russia does have an American precedent. In 1988, a posthumous portrait of former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington wearing a white bra and panties prompted police to impound the artwork for days.

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