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Pro-Kremlin Activists Storm Moscow Art Exhibit

11.12 Gallery / Facebook

A fringe pro-Kremlin group has stormed a provocative artist’s exhibit in central Moscow over what the activists said was its “anti-Russian” tone.

Members of the hyper-nationalist SERB activist collective said they “violently disrupted” artist Vasily Slonov’s “Heavenly Jerusalem” exhibit a day after it opened its doors to the public at the Vinzavod gallery complex. SERB is known for recurring attacks on opposition-minded exhibitions and figures.

“Naturally, SERB couldn’t stay away and disrupted this exhibition,” its member, Gosha Tarasevich, wrote on the Vkontakte social media website Wednesday.

Tarasevich attached photos showing himself and fellow activists brandishing some of the seized and vandalized artwork, including stuffed toys wearing a vatnik quilted jacket with cotton insulation.

“Insulting the president is banned. That’s not just our dumb whim, it’s a criminal count,” he wrote.

One of the art objects defaced by the activists at the exhibition is a side-by-side image of President Vladimir Putin and a skull.

Moscow police are reportedly investigating the incident after Alex Sharov, the head of the 11.12 gallery where Slonov’s exhibit opened Tuesday, accused them of “inaction.”

Slonov is known for his often acid, satirical humor. In 2013, his "Welcome! Sochi 2014" posters caused a stir ahead of the Winter Olympics for featuring an Olympic mascot in a sex costume, barbed-wire Olympic rings and a vodka bottle on a pedestal. An exhibit in Perm featuring a fanged Stalin, a matryoshka-doll-shaped grenade and an ax chopping down birch trees with blood oozing out was closed after one local politician called them Russophobic.

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