A Russian MP called for the replacement of ruble bank notes featuring a nude Greek god, claiming the image’s miniature genitals are pornographic and a bad influence on children.
The widely circulated 100-ruble note worth around USD 3 (two euros) depicts a statue of Apollo on the portico of the legendary Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The figure has a partially visible penis peeking out from under a cloak.
Roman Khudyakov, a lawmaker in the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, said he has written to the central bank asking it to change the note’s design.
“I sent an official request to the Bank of Russia asking it to replace the 100-ruble notes showing the naked Apollo,” Khudyakov said, adding he was alerted to the note’s X-rated content by seeing school children sniggering at the image.
“I was waiting for my son outside school after an exam and two pupils aged about 10 were looking at the 100-ruble note and giggling,” he said.
“This behaviour is inappropriate. We must protect our children from such information, from pornography.”
He said the real-life statue of Apollo depicted on the banknote had its genitals covered up with a figleaf in 2011 during restoration of the Bolshoi Theatre’s main building.
The note could be replaced with an image of the Crimean city of Sevastopol to celebrate Russia’s takeover of the Ukrainian peninsula in March, Khudyakov suggested.
“We hope our request will be heard. Unlike (works of art in) museums, children see the 100-ruble note every day,” said party spokesman Yury Ryzhov.
But the outcry over the banknote prompted ridicule from some quarters, since it has been in circulation since the late 1990s.
Earlier this month, a Russian law came into force banning swearing in films, theatre, the media and the arts.
And last year it banned the dissemination of gay “propaganda” to minors in a move slammed by rights activists.