Russian street artist detained for ‘insulting the feelings of believers’

Police in the city of Ulyanovsk in the Volga region detained local street artist Yegor Kholtov for allegedly “insulting the feelings of believers”, local news website Ulpressa reported Thursday.

The regional Investigative Committee first reported that a criminal case had been brought against an artist on 26 April, though the press release didn’t name the defendant. It said that between 2014 and 2021, a resident of Ulyanovsk had posted on social media “images and texts mocking imagery revered in Christianity”.

The Interior Ministry posted a video Thursday of security forces breaking down the door to enter a suspect’s apartment and knocking him to the floor. Ulpressa has now established that the detainee was Kholtov. Independent news outlet SOTA said the artist was not currently in custody, suggesting pretrial restrictions stopping short of arrest may have been imposed.

Artwork by Yegor Kholtov

Artwork by Yegor Kholtov

In March, Kholtov’s apartment was searched in relation to the treason case being brought against former Mediazona publisher, Pyotr Verzilov. Paintings and a computer hard drive were seized. Many other Russian artists’ had their homes searched on the same day.

Kholtov — whose real name is Yegor Zakharov — is an Ulyanovsk-based street artist who also works with graphics and paints. He publishes his work online.

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