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Label: moscow

Wednesday 19th August 2015Moscow Art Exhibit Attacked

While it was never exactly a haven for the culturally adventurous, Russia seems to be going through a bad time for artists lately. After the feminist activist group/punk band Pussy Riot staged a protest in the main cathedral in Moscow in 2012, the government enacted some tough new legislation aimed at curbing such protests in the future. The legislation was ostensibly around protecting the faithful, and like much of such legislation, it didn't take too long before it was being twisted around in the opposite way.

There is a large exhibit space next to Moscow's Red Square known as the Manezh, which is currently playing host to an impressive collection of pieces from some of Russia's most prominent and popular artists, in an exhibit entitled Sculptures We Don't See. Last week, the exhibit had some extremely unhappy visitors from the God's Will right-wing ultra-conservative religious group. So unhappy, in fact, that they took the opportunity to damage many of the artworks, tearing them off their plinths, throwing them on the ground, stomping on them and smashing some of them to pieces.

Several of the pieces were admittedly provocative, some featuring the severed head of John the Baptist, and a naked Jesus, among many others. Regardless, none of this justifies the violence and destructive nature of the attack. During video of the attack, the leader can be heard to shout, “Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary are being mocked. This is punishable under the criminal code.” Surely, however, if that were the case, they would have been dealt with by the proper authorities instead of being vandalized. Surely destruction of property is a crime as well, yet it seems that no charges have been laid against those responsible to date.

Naturally, the religious authorities in Russia were quick to denounce the actions of the God's Will group: “What so-called Orthodox activists do, as a rule, has nothing to do with religion,” Vladimir Legoida said, speaking on behalf of the Moscow Patriarchate. It's unclear where any kind of security staff were during the incident, but Enteo, the leader of God's Will, was detained only briefly by police after the destructive attack, and then released the same evening.

Hopefully, this vague and half-formed law will be stricken from the books, and self-proclaimed activists who deface national treasures will be treated with just as harshly as those who the law was originally supposed to protect.
 

Posted on August 19th 2015 on 03:09pm
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