President Dmitry Medvedev has outdone his powerful predecessor — as an artist.
A photograph Medvedev took of the kremlin, or fortress, in a Siberian town sold for 51 million rubles ($1.7 million) at a charity auction Saturday night, surpassing the 37 million rubles (then $1.1 million) paid last year for a painting by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Medvedev's black-and-white photo was snapped up by Mikhail Zingarevich, a board member at Ilim Group, the pulp and paper company where Medvedev once worked as a lawyer. Zingarevich said he planned to hang the 69-by-96-centimeter (27-by-38-inch) picture in his office.
Proceeds of the auction will go to buy furniture for World War II veterans receiving long-promised apartments, equipment for a children's hospital and a new kitchen for an alcohol rehabilitation center.
The annual auction, which includes artwork by Russian politicians, athletes and cultural figures, raised 81.5 million rubles.
Putin, still seen as the more powerful leader two years after passing the presidency to Medvedev, last year donated a painting of a frost-rimmed window in a traditional wooden hut.
Medvedev, an avid photographer, also chose a scene steeped in Russian tradition. His photograph, taken from the air, shows the white stone walls and towers of the kremlin in Tobolsk. The town is known as one of the final homes of Russia's last czar and his family during the time of the 1917 Russian Revolution.
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