Dec 03, 2016
By Bob Sheppard
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been urged to protect freedom of artistic expression in his country.
Many important Russian cultural figures made the request to Putin, and while he pledged to do so, he also warned them not to offend people who believe in religion.
At the same time he said there was nothing he could do about their plea for the release of a Ukrainian filmmaker from prison. Putin said a Russian court had found the man guilty. Oleh Sentsov received a sentence of 20 years for plotting terror attacks.
Sentsov is from Crimea, and strongly opposed the Russian invasion and annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
Russia is experiencing a growing conservative streak, and it’s causing concern among the country’s artistic community.
Just recently a performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at a theatre in the Siberian city of Omsk was forced to close down following a petition by devout members of the Russian Orthodox church.