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Russian authorities demand Tretyakov Gallery change its exhibits to reflect country’s ‘moral and spiritual values’

The Russian Culture Ministry has ordered Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery to bring its exhibits “into accordance with [Russia’s] moral and spiritual values,” The Moscow Times reported on Tuesday, citing a letter addressed to the museum by ministry official Natalia Chechel.

Chechel’s letter was purportedly written in response to a report filed by a museum visitor named Sergey Shadrin, who complained that the Tretyakov includes “works containing signs of a destructive ideology” as well as exhibits that produce “deep pessimism” and “feelings of emptiness and hopelessness.” He also noted that certain paintings from the latter half of the 20th century depict “alcoholism” and “funerals […] in the presence of marginalized social elements,” and complained that in a series of paintings portraying The Last Supper, “it’s impossible to tell which person is Judas.”

In her letter, Natalia Chechel demanded that the museum provide a response to Shadrin’s complaint by February 6.

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