Moldova: Wine-stained tribute to Russia's 'culinary warrior'

  • 25 October 2013
Composite image of Onishchenko and his portrait by Vasile Botnaru

A Moldovan journalist has celebrated the departure of the Russian official who banned imports of his country's wine - by painting his portrait in plonk.

Moscow's controversial chief medical officer Gennady Onishchenko was associated with banning food and wine from countries that displeased the Kremlin. And tiny Moldova often suffered from this "culinary diplomacy", seeing the main Russian market for its wine cut off on vague health grounds whenever the two countries fell out. But Onischenko faces an uncertain future after being shunted aside, as the Moscow Times reports, and journalist Vasile Botnaru in the Moldovan capital Chisinau cracked open a bottle of local red to mark his downfall.

"Onishchenko said our wine was only fit for painting fences. We'll show him it's good enough for real art, including his portrait," Botnaru told Adevarul newspaper, which published his efforts on its website. The journalist-turned-artist reportedly experimented with coffee but settled on traditional home-made wine as the most appropriate medium. It seems Botnaru plans to auction similar portraits of the entire Russian government under the title "From Chisinau with Love", as a message of peace. "We don't hate, we love - and that's because we drink wine," he's quoted as saying.

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