Russia’s artists enter political fray in elections

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PERM, RUSSIA (AP).- In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, artists have done art and left politics to the politicians. But the wave of protests that followed fraud-tainted parliamentary elections in December generated a lively burst of creativity — from parodies of the Barack Obama “Hope” poster to acts of performance art and satirical online videos. As Prime Minister Putin seeks victory in Sunday’s presidential election, Russian artists are reclaiming their long-dormant role of confronting authority and even people who don’t claim to be artists are showing an imaginative streak. “People are now making art out of politics,” said Marat Gelman, curator of the modern arts museum in Perm — one of the country’s most adventurous — about 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) east of Moscow. In the glasnost era of openness under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the early years following the communist