Russia closes down exhibit of Western WWII photography for political reasons: source

Source:AFP Published: 2015-4-12 18:38:02

A Russian museum that was due to host an exhibition of World War II images by photographic greats such as Robert Capa has unexpectedly closed just before the show was due to open, reportedly on Moscow's orders.

Pictures chosen by the curators included classics like Capa's images of the D-Day landings and Alfred Eisenstaedt's VJ Day shot of a sailor kissing a woman in New York's Times Square.

But the six-week exhibition at the Metenkov House Museum in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Russian Urals, appears to be the latest casualty in the standoff between Russia and the West over the war in Ukraine.

On Thursday, a day before the show was due to open, the museum posted a message on its social networking websites, saying that the exhibition - Triumph and tragedy: allies during World War II - "will not happen... due to the closing of the museum for an unknown period of time for technical reasons."

A source in the museum however told AFP the real reason behind the closure was to prevent the exhibition from happening for political reasons. "Technical issues are not the reason," the source said.

Kommersant newspaper reported that the museum had had no previous plans to close, while a police source said the abrupt shuttering was ordered by Russia's federal security service (FSB).

"The museum was closed by the federal agency on direct orders from Moscow," the police source told Kommersant.

Other photographers whose work was featured in the exhibition - prepared with assistance of the US and British consulates - included Ansel Adams and W. Eugene Smith. 

The source in the museum said the orders came from higher authorities, adding that the museum was not running the WWII exhibit even once it begins working again. 

It was not the content of the show that was the issue, but the cooperation with US and British consulates, which was seen as "unacceptable in the current political situation," the source, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, told AFP.


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