MOSCOW (AP) — A protest by about 15 Russian Orthodox Christian activists has disrupted the opening of a Moscow art exhibit inspired by the jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot.
The activists, some dressed in Cossack uniforms, tried to block the entrance to the Gelman Gallery. Riot police dispersed the protesters, detaining nine of them, but then blocked off the area, making it difficult for those who wanted to attend Thursday's opening to get inside.
The paintings by Yevgenia Maltseva were inspired by religious icons and the three Pussy Riot members who were jailed for a raucous performance inside a Moscow cathedral to protest Vladimir Putin's rule and his close relationship with the church hierarchy.
Their imprisonment has highlighted Putin's crackdown on dissent since returning to the presidency in May.