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Theater director asks Putin to protect arts from pressure

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/2/2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin, gestures, as he meets leader of Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia Raul Khadzhimba in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Natalia Kolesnikova/Pool photo via AP) © The Associated Press Russian President Vladimir Putin, gestures, as he meets leader of Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia Raul Khadzhimba in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Natalia Kolesnikova/Pool photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian theater director is asking President Vladimir Putin to protect the nation's arts scene from interference by officials and vigilantes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

During Putin's meeting Friday with Russian cultural figures, Yevgeny Mironov pleaded with him to stop officials and conservative groups from trying to censor the creative arts. Mironov, a prominent actor, is the artistic director of Moscow's Theater of Nations.

Putin said freedom of artistic expression must be protected, but added that creative artists must be careful not to offend religious feelings.

Amid a growing conservative streak, a Moscow art gallery shut down an exhibition of nude photos by an American photographer after a raid by vigilantes. The Siberian city of Omsk also banned a performance of the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" following a petition by devout Orthodox believers.

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