Russian Artist Paints Putin in Lingerie — Shockingly, Authorities Not Happy

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks surprisingly svelte in a pink satin nighty.

In related news, a Russian artist is seeking asylum in France after ruffling government feathers by painting a picture of President Vladimir Putin in women’s lingerie, combing the hair of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (whose suits, evidently, do a fantastic job of concealing his breasts at press conferences).

The artist, Konstantin Altunin, painted the portrait of the two leaders as part of a series called Rulers. Shockingly, Russian officials didn’t like the painting – seizing it from St. Petersburg’s Museum of Power gallery along with other images by the same artist depicting other Russian officials who had a hand in the country’s anti-gay legislation alongside rainbows, or covered in tattoos.

The government justified the seizure of the paintings, describing them as “of a distinctly pornographic character.” It’s notable that St. Petersburg helped lead the charge to ban “gay propaganda” in Russia – which was put into law earlier this summer.

Altunin, however, isn’t the only artist affected by the country’s gay propaganda laws. Reports say that a new biopic of famed Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky glosses over the widely held belief that he was homosexual (with one filmmaker denying it). The film was funded in part by the Russian government.

In light of the Putin painting controversy, the upcoming G20 summit in Russia couldn’t be timelier. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper knows the slings and arrows a painter’s brush can wield – remember when artist Margaret Sutherland painted him in the nude, “Timbits” and all?

Perhaps the PM can console Putin, and maybe even help him see the lighter side of the situation. After all, Harper’s portrait offered an unflattering image of the nation’s leader in the buff. Pink, in contrast, actually suits Putin quite well.