Daily Archives: December 4, 2011

“Anti-Devil”: “Performance Art” as a Weapon of the Kleptocratic Police State



At 8:00 p.m. on December 4, the action “Anti-Devil,” an art house-style theatrical performance based on F.M. Dostoevsky’s novel “The Devils,” will begin on Saint Isaac’s Square. A phrase by the great writer — “The finest people must unite!” — is the action’s leitmotif. We call on people to unite against turmoil and social upheaval, and for the legitimacy of the authorities, as confirmed during the elections.

The stage will be erected on the Blue Bridge, right in front of the Mariinsky Palace [home of the Petersburg Legislative Assembly]. Petersburg actors, artists, dancers and musicians will perform key dialogues from the novel, as well as original numbers and performances dealing with the deeds of devils in Russia. Artist Daniil Tikhonov will present a new, relevant drawing from his acclaimed series “Dostoevsky FM.”

The Russian folk proverb “Stomp your feet, devils, but not in our forest!” will serve as the main slogan of this massive ritual.

The action, produced and directed by Yana Bogdanova, has been initiated by the Angry Artists art community.

The Arts Faculty of Saint Petersburg State University (Valery Gergiev, dean), the New Man Institute (Sergei Bugaev Afrika), and the Saint Petersburg Arts Support Center (Alexei Sergienko) have already expressed their support for the creation of [this] original performance.

Andrei Tatarinov, member, Russian Federation Public Chamber:
“Devils are temptations and the people who succumb to them. It was thus in the Russian Empire, and so it is [today] in the Russian Federation. Greed, the consumerist itch, and unbelief generate provocateurs, traitors and criminals of all stripes. Just like Dostoevsky’s ‘The Devils,” our theatrical performance is about those who for their own benefit or out of confusion fervently desire the collapse of society and state.”

Admission is free for viewers.
The event has been authorized by the Saint Petersburg Municipal Administration.

UPDATE. Not that it should surprise us, but only activists from The Other Russia party had the moxy to challenge this little bit of police-state “artistic” demonism, endorsed by world-famous Petersburg cultural maestros Sergei Bugaev Afrika and Valery Gergiev.

04-12-2011, 22:11:40 // Saint Petersburg
The Protest Action Near Gostiny Dvor Ended Outside the Electoral Commission

At 8:00 p.m. in Saint Petersburg, when voting had officially ended, activists from The Other Russia who had not been detained near Gostiny Dvor metro station appeared outside the Mariinsky Palace, where the city’s electoral commission is headquartered. There, on the Blue Bridge, a pro-Kremlin action sponsored by the Young Guards, entitled “Anti-Devil,” was getting under way.

Two Other Russia activists, Oleg Bespalov and Yevgeny Pavlenko, climbed onto the stage that had been set up by the Young Guards. The activists set off flares and being chanting, “Your elections are a farce!” The protesters were fairly roughly detained by the security hired by the pro-Kremlin youth and turned over to police. Oleg Bespalov was beaten up. After the arrests, police officers summoned one of the organizers of the pro-Kremlin happening and demanded that she file a written criminal complaint [against the arrested activists].

Yevgeny Pavlenko and Oleg Bespalov have been taken to police precinct No. 2. Both were badly beaten and there are fears that they have suffered concussions, but Center “E” officers [anti-“extremism police] who arrived [at the station] are refusing to let doctors take them to hospital.


Photo by Vladimir Telegin.

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Filed under contemporary art, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, racism, nationalism, fascism, Russian society

Vote Rigging in Russia: Reports from the Field

A journalist friend of ours just called and told us the following story. He had just got a call from a local musician, a member of an extremely popular local band with a national and international following. This musician had gone today to his polling station in Saint Petersburg to vote, only to be told that he had already voted! When polling station officials showed him the ballot he’d allegedly submitted, he tried to take a photograph of it. Polling station officials tried to have police detain him for this impudent civic act, but in the end let him go.

Meanwhile, his friend and band mate also tried to vote today, at another polling station in Russia’s “Northern Capital.” He was also informed by polling station officials that he, too, had “already voted.” What are the odds of an “irregularity” of this sort happening to two members of the same band at two different polling stations in a city of five million people?

So if and when, later today or tomorrow, Vladimir Churov (the chair of Russia’s Central Electoral Commission and a flagrant clown obviously appointed expressly for the purpose of totally discrediting the idea of free and fair elections in the minds of Russian voters) announces yet another “decisive” victory for United Russia, you, dear readers, should have no illusions: the fix was in from top to bottom, from Vladivostok to Smolensk, from the very beginning to the dismal, criminal end of this so-called election campaign.

If this isn’t the case, then it’s hard to imagine why the campaign to discredit the Golos Association, the only independent election monitoring organization in Russia, or today’s cyber attacks on the web sites of Golos, Echo of Moscow, and other media outlets were necessary.

Or consider this: a Nashi activist in Veliky Novgorod, caught red-handed the other day offering cash for absentee ballots:

And here, some nice old ladies at polling station no. 1484/1485 in Yekaterinburg are shown diligently engaged in filling out ballots ahead of time:

If you think these are “isolated” incidents (as Churov and his band of statistical pirates will no doubt claim), think again.

Finally, there’s such a thing as “soft” coercion, as witnessed by a Facebook friend of ours in Peterhof, a glorious imperial suburb of Petersburg:

I just got back from the polling station, where a friend and I unanimously voted for Yabloko [a democratic opposition party]. In the foyer of the school [where the polling station is located] there’s an exhibition of children’s drawings entitled “Our Strength Lies in Unity.” They think they’re so clever. But no, they’ve proven once again that they’re crooks.

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Filed under film and video, political repression, Russian society