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The 'Well-Known Art Gallery' In Prague Being Hailed By Russian State TV

One of the most famous art galleries in Prague?

One of the most famous art galleries in Prague?

Viewers of Russian state TV were introduced this week to a revealing photo exhibit being held at "one of the most famous art galleries in Prague."

Organizers are describing the exhibit as an "attempt to overcome the conspiracy of European media silence on what is happening in Ukraine," according to Rossia-24.

But the televised reports, also being aired on Russia's Channel 5, conspicuously leave out the name of the "well-known" Prague art gallery displaying a collection of photos said to have been taken in the aftermath of a fire at Odesa's trade-union building that killed over 40 supporters of pro-Russian separatists.

It is certainly conceivable that one of Prague's more eminent spaces -- the Leica Gallery, New Town Hall, or Prague House, for instance -- would be interested in hosting an exhibit on the horrific May 2 fire, sparked after earlier clashes between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian protesters in which gunfire reportedly killed at least four on the pro-Kyiv side.

But none of them is. Turns out, the display is in an otherwise nondescript fifth-floor hallway in the building housing the Czech communist party, officially called the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia.

During a midday visit by RFE/RL two days after the show's opening, the hall was empty aside from two elderly members of the communist-linked "Czech Borderlands Club" lounging in armchairs lining the walls.

The exhibit consists of some 20 pixelated photos collected from the Internet, printed on computer paper and glued onto the backs of glass frames.

Many of the gruesome pictures have appeared widely online.

Monika Horeni, an editor at "Halo noviny," the Czech communist party's news arm and an organizer for the show, says she was asked to display the photos by a Ukrainian who opposes the government in Kyiv.

Speaking to RFE/RL, the 48-year-old, wearing a "Remember Odesa, Stop Fascism" pin, appeared to parallel Russian state media, which has frequently used misinformation to cast Ukraine's post-Euromaidan leadership as an "illegal junta" influenced by fascism.

"Czech residents don't get objective information from Czech media, unfortunately," Horeni said, speaking Russian. "But we try to show it, because we are convinced that in Ukraine bad things are happening. The current authorities are putschists and many of them didn't come to power democratically. "

Horeni said 20 to 30 people came to the opening in early July, but admitted visitors have since been sparse.

-- Glenn Kates

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