Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky has been detained after brandishing a pair of blue underpants in a pro-opposition protest outside the headquarters of the country’s security services.
The one-man picket in central Moscow follows an investigation by opposition leader Alexei Navalny into his own poisoning in August. In a viral video clip released on 21 December, the former presidential candidate poses as a political aide to discuss the case with an FSB officer, who admits being involved in an operation to poison Navalny with a nerve-agent.
Mansky’s blue underwear, which the director hoisted outside FSB headquarters, is a direct reference to the video, after the officer involved said that they had tried to conceal the poison in Navalny’s undergarments.
Prior to his arrest, when Mansky was asked by two officers why he was holding the pants, the director said, “It’s so that they’re clean. I think that everything should be clean — clean conscience, clean underwear — this is my civic position.”
The Russian government has denied involvement in Navalny’s poisoning, and has declared the evidence provided in the 49-minute recording as “fake”.
Born in Lviv, Ukraine, Mansky is the author of more than 30 documentaries and the president of Moscow’s Documentary Film Festival ARTDOKFEST. His latest film, Gorbachev. Heaven, released earlier this year, is a poetic documentary on the private life of the last leader of the USSR.