A court in St. Petersburg has fined an artist 160,000 rubles ($2,560) for marching with an anti-Putin banner in the city’s May Day parade. Varvara Mikhailova’s sign featured a series of time-lapse photos showing grass breaking through a portrait of Putin. Known as “The Nine Stages of a Leader’s Decomposition,” the image was created in 2015 by the artist-protest group “Vesna.”
The court convicted Mikhailova of repeatedly violating Russia’s laws on public assemblies. (She was last detained at a rally on June 12, 2017.) Mikhailova says the court also ordered her to destroy the banner. When police officers detained her on May 1, they reportedly asked her if the banner had been approved by city officials.
Police detained 15 people at St. Petersburg’s May Day parade this year, including several anti-war demonstrators who marched with foreign flags and three LGBT rights activists carrying rainbow flags.