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Artists in stealth in Russia are still attacking Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine

The image of a dead man with his hands tied behind his back on the ground in the Ukrainian town of Bucha has become a symbol of the horrors of Russia’s war. He was photographed covered in blood, wearing jeans, sneakers and a brown hooded jacket, his hands bound by white cloth.

Days after the photo went viral, the image resurfaced all over Moscow, where an anonymous performer took a picture of himself lying on the ground, wearing similar clothes and with his hands tied in front of the crowd. the city’s most famous landmark in a street art demonstration he called for Moscow-Bucha.

Like him, hundreds of Russian artists took to the streets to paint anti-war graffiti in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Tver, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod and other cities. Many of them were tracked down and arrested, but some escaped. Even now, a nude effigy covered in fake blood lies inside a half-destroyed old building in downtown Nizhny Novgorod. The word “Gruz” is written on its back, a reference to the Russian codeword for soldiers killed in the operation. The graffiti above the dummy reads: “Stop the war”.

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A pro-Ukraine banner hangs on the Crimean Bridge in central Moscow. Sergei Sitar, who hung the banner, was sentenced to 15 days in prison.

Illustrated by Luis G. Rendon / The Daily Beast / Getty / Twitter

A famous Russian architect, Sergei Sitar, hoisted a 10-meter-long Ukrainian flag with the words “Freedom. Truth. Peace.” on the Crimean Bridge in central Moscow last month, he was later sentenced by a Moscow court to 15 days in prison for the demonstration. Another street artist, known as Blue Pencil, painted inscriptions on the wall in Nizhny Novgorod: “Strength is truth. It is forbidden in the territory of the Russian Federation,” it read. Nearby, he drew a long black rectangle like the text that had been written. censorship ends with an exclamation point.“The Russian government, because they have not changed has become corrupt, they turn Russia into a totalitarian state,” artist Blue Pencil told The Daily Beast in one interview.

The political street art tradition has deep roots in Russia. Back in 1976, the first Soviet disobedience artist, Yuliy Rybakov, and his friends painted a 40-meter statement on the wall of the Peter and Paul fortress in Leningrad, which read: “You crucify freedom, but the human soul knows no chains! ”

Today, Russian artists stand with Ukraine, and despite their efforts to quell their protests, many anti-war artworks still appear on the walls of Russian cities in one country. almost all objections to the Kremlin were silenced. Street art remains one of the only places where free expression is possible.

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Tagged by Blue Pencil, a Russian street artist. In part, it reads: “Death is not fake.”

Photo illustration by Luis G. Rendon / The Daily Beast / Getty / Anna Nistratova / Blue Pencil

A young artist in Saint Petersburg, Zhenya Isayeva, followed Rybakov’s example earlier this month. Wearing a light white dress, she poured red paint all over her body during a protest against bloodshed in Ukraine. “My heart is bleeding!” she shouted, while standing on the steps of a historic building in the center of Nevsky Prospect until the police arrested her and a court sentenced her. 8 days in prison.

Galina Artemenko, an art observer from Saint Petersburg, told The Daily Beast: “We see many anti-war artists and poets in Russia today because there is no longer any free media to express their horrors. the king that everyone feels. “Isayeva is a serious artist from a family of artists, having lived in Saint Petersburg for 200 years, she follows a long tradition of political art protests.”

Almost every day, Anna Nistratova, a Russian street art expert, finds new anti-war murals on the walls of Nizhny Novgorod. “The young street artists feel frustrated and angry, their statements on the wall almost acting as therapy for many people who disagree with what is happening,” Nistratova told The Daily Beast. . “People walk along a giant wall, see a very small ‘Stop the War’ graffiti and realize they’re not alone.”

An internationally recognized Russian contemporary artist, Pavel Otdelnov, recently created a series of snow-themed paintings called School for testing. Snow is a Russian folk symbol for death. One of his paintings, called Geopolitical house, depicting President Vladimir Putin’s head protruding from a snow-covered field. “This is an image of a man controlling large swaths of land but he is completely alone and buried in the snow,” Otdelnov told The Daily Beast. “I’ve never felt so bad as I do now, I can’t find a place for myself, so I try to draw so I don’t fall into depression,” Otdelnov said.

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Geopolitical house, one of Pavel Otdelnov’s snow-themed paintings of President Putin. “This is an image of a man who is in control of large tracts of land but he is completely alone and buried in the snow.”

Photo illustration by Luis G. Rendon / The Daily Beast / Getty / Pavel Otdelnov

Other Russian artists, like the “Party of the Dead” group, are turning to more direct forms of protest. Last month, they gathered at a cemetery in Moscow, wearing skull masks and holding banners highlighting the deaths of Russian soldiers in Ukraine. Their protest was seen as a challenge to Russian propaganda, the lack of information about the war, and the Kremlin’s official suspicious death toll when reporting Russian casualties. “This is a time for artistic action, for live statements, like the recent Party of the Dead Souls performance,” Otdelnov told The Daily Beast.

At a time when citizens are arrested simply for reading classical poems with the word “war” in Russian public squares, artists have to be incredibly courageous to stand up against the regime. Putin’s more oppressive.

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The Party of Dead Souls, a group of artists, gathered at a cemetery in Moscow, wearing skull masks and holding banners highlighting the deaths of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

Photo illustration by Luis G. Rendon / The Daily Beast / Getty / Party of Dead

“Some artists see war as a challenge, a time when we need to use artistic methods in a city environment,” Blue Pencil told The Daily Beast. “As a street artist, I try to say that wars and murders should stop on Ukrainian territory now, I try to find [a way] to describe the horrors of war”.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-sneaky-way-artists-in-russia-are-still-slamming-vladimir-putins-war-in-ukraine?source=articles&via=rss Artists in stealth in Russia are still attacking Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine

Russell Falcon

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