Museum Director Could Face Jail Time Over Religiously Offensive Exhibit

January 9, 2004

Source: The Independent

On January 9, 2004 The Independent reported, "A Russian museum director has fallen foul of both church and state by organising a controversial exhibition that has been accused of offending Orthodox beliefs. The director of the Sakharov museum, named after the Soviet-era dissident Andrei Sakharov, has been charged with inciting religious hatred for staging the exhibition entitled 'Look out, Religion!'. If found guilty, Yuri Samodurov faces up to five years in jail or a fine of up to 500,000 roubles (£9,369), and could be moved out of his job for five years...The works - which are now in the prosecutor's office - included a poster by Aleksandr Kosolapov, a Russian-born American, which depicts the image of Jesus on a Coca-Cola advertisement. 'This is my blood,' it said in English. Another was a Russian Orthodox-style icon with a hole as a head through which visitors could poke their heads. Its title came from the Second Commandment: 'Thou shalt not carve idols unto Thee.'"