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Latvia Removes Installation of 'Crucified' Putin

The open-air installation drew indignation from the Russian Embassy in the Latvian capital.

Authorities in Latvia have dismantled an art installation featuring a lookalike of President Vladimir Putin being crucified after complaints from the Russian Embassy, a news report said.

The open-air installation, which appeared earlier this month close to the former headquarters of the KGB in Riga, drew indignation from the Russian Embassy in the Latvian capital, which said in a Facebook post that it had sent a protest note to Latvia's Interior Ministry.

The statue showed a man with a close likeness to Putin suspended on a cross and wearing a crown of thorns, while passersby were encouraged to drive nails into it, RFE/RL reported Wednesday.

"We consider unacceptable the appearance of this kind of provocation 'art' in the capital of the country currently taking over the presidency of the EU Council," the Russian Embassy said last week in its Facebook post.

The statue has since been dismantled, RFE/RL said Wednesday, with some media reports saying it shut down almost a week ago.

Relations between Russia and Latvia, a former Soviet republic turned EU-member, have been strained since the annexation of Crimea last year, amid fears that Moscow could have similar designs on the Baltic states.

Rostislav Ishchenko, a Ukrainian political analyst, last month penned an article for the Newsbalt website in which he called on Russia to take over a part of the Latvia known as Latgale in a move similar to what was seen in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

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