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Russian Orthodox Church urges believes to keep protests against arts within format of law

August 15, 2015, 2:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Several activists of the movement broke into the Manezh Exhibition Center opposite the Kremlin and tried to destroy several sculptures displayed at the exhibition ‘The Sculpture that We Do Not See’
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MOSCOW, August 14. /TASS/. Russian Orthodox religious activists should not break the format of legality while organizing protests against cultural events or works of art, a spokesman for the information department of the Russian Church Synod said on Friday in a comment on an action organized by the Bozhya Volya (God’s Will) public movement.

Earlier on the same day, several activists of the movement broke into the Manezh Exhibition Center opposite the Kremlin and tried to destroy several sculptures displayed at the exhibition ‘The Sculpture that We Do Not See’, saying the works in question insulted their religious feelings.

"Violence is always spearheaded at people in one way or another and it cannot be justified by the defence of interests of any social group," Vakhtang Kipshidze, the chief of the department’s analysis and information section told TASS.

"However, this doesn’t deny people of their legitimate right to protest, including protests against the insults to religious symbols or shrines," he said.

Kipshidze admitted he was not familiar with the exhibits displayed in Manezh but considering the fact many of the sculptures were made in the 1960’s, the time when Nikita Khrushchev promised to demonstrate the last Russian priest on TV, they obviously stood in line with the political precepts administered to artists of the time and were consonant with the moods of certain marginal groups today.

"Quite possibly, some of the sculptures were looked really offensive for the believers but any protests should be held only in a civilized and reasonable form," Kipshidze said.

Officials at the press service of Moscow City’s Interior Department said an inquiry into the incident in Manezh had been ordered and all the activists of the Bozhya Volya movement had been taken to a police department.

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