Court Upholds Fine for Pussy Riot Icons

One of several pro-Pussy Riot posters drawn by Novosibirsk artist Artyom Loskutov.

A Novosibirsk court has upheld a lower court’s decision to fine a local artist for replacing light-box advertisements with pro-Pussy Riot posters in March.

The artist, Artyom Loskutov, said Monday on Twitter that the decision violated his right to a free trial and freedom of expression. He pledged to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Earlier this summer, Loskutov was convicted of offending Russian Orthodox faithful by posting two iconlike images of the controversial punk rockers. He was fined 1,000 rubles ($31).

The posters featured a woman in a purple balaclava with her hands raised in prayer, a halo around her head, and a child in her belly, an icon motif known as “Our Lady of the Sign.”

Abbreviations of the words “Free Pussy Riot” appear above the woman’s head.

Loskutov said the images were not offensive but rather celebratory of “universal values,” with the mother and child symbolizing social harmony, RIA-Novosti reported.

But the Metropolitan of Novosibirsk said the images amounted to “hooliganism.” The city said the light boxes were opened illegally.

Three members of Pussy Riot face up to seven years in prison for a February performance in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral during which they denounced Patriarch Kirill’s support for President Vladimir Putin.

The trio is expected to be sentenced on Friday.

Loskutov is best known for organizing Novosibirsk’s annual “Monstration” demonstrations, in which participants carry absurd slogans such as “Lentils are evil!” and “Good president — bad dancer?”

He has asked the court to return one of the icons so that he can sell it at auction.

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