Europe

Theater director asks Putin to protect arts from pressure

  • 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)

    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 chairs a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    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 attends a meeting with Russia's cultural figures in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Putin pledged to protect the freedom of artistic expression in Russia, but urged creative artists to be careful not to offend religious believers. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Russia's cultural figures in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Putin pledged to protect the freedom of artistic expression in Russia, but urged creative artists to be careful not to offend religious believers. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

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

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.