TWO Russian art curators who angered church leaders with an exhibition that included images of Christ as Mickey Mouse and Lenin were convicted yesterday of inciting religious hatred, but escaped prison sentences.
The decision on Yuri Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev by a Moscow court could avoid the possibility of an international outcry over imprisoning them.
But it is unlikely to stem concerns about the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church and Soviet-style censorship returning.
The curators were convicted for their 2007 exhibit entitled Forbidden Art at the Sakharov Museum.
The two could have been sentenced to up to three years in prison, but were ordered only to pay fines of up to 200,000 roubles (€5,000).
Prosecutors refused to back down as artists and activists had appealed to the Kremlin to stop the prosecution.
Even Russia’s culture minister said the two men did nothing to break the law against inciting religious hatred.
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