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Moscow Police Open Case To Prosecute Soviet Art Vandals

Moscow police have opened a criminal case over the vandalization last month of Soviet artworks by Orthodox church activists, police spokesman Andrei Galiakberov said on September 14.

Several plastic and linoleum sculptures by renowned Soviet artist Vadim Sidur were smashed on August 14 by activists who at the time described the exhibition's depictions of Jesus Christ as "indecent" and a "dirty, harsh mockery."

The exhibition, called Sculptures That We Don't See, showed works by Soviet sculptors that did not see the light of day during the Soviet period because they were nonconformist.

Experts have estimated the damage to four exhibits at around 196,000 rubles ($2,908), Galiakberov said. The Manege art center has said it will seek many times that amount in compensation from the vandals, however.

Cultural vandals convicted under Russian law face fines of up to 5 million rubles ($74,190) and six years in prison.

The move to prosecute came one day after hundreds of people in St. Petersburg protested against the increasing destruction of artworks by religious activists and other vandals.

Based on reporting by AP, TASS, and Interfax

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