On October 19, 2008, New Street University (Petersburg), Humane Education (Moscow), and OD Group (Moscow) carried out a joint action in a pedestrian underpass on Nevsky Prospect. During the action, which took the form of a man-on-the-street survey, real live sociologists from Moscow pretended to be sociologists, while a rather large live frog was offered up as a sacrifice to passersby.
These unfortunate citizens were first handed leaflets containing the following text:
Stop the Murder of Frogs on Russian Soil! In the biology department of Moscow State University, antiquated models of education hold sway. It is not only students who suffer from this, but even frogs. The department has not updated its educational methods since Soviet times. In particular, our little green pals are regularly subjected to archaic, bloodthirsty lab experiments. It is not only students whose future careers will require them to be able to work with lab animals who are forced to engage in these practices, but also those who have chosen theoretical majors. Many students have spoken out, asking that students who have chosen one of these specialities be granted the right not to take part in such experiments. One fifth-year student was expelled for refusing to taking part in these unlawful experiments.
There is an alternative—Humane Education! Students can practice on artificial frogs (cats, etc.) and thus gain control of the production of knowledge.Continue reading →
On May 11, 2008, students from Petersburg’s New Street University performed the action Religion IsStomatology on the front steps of Our Lady of Kazan (Russian Orthodox) Cathedral. The action was meant to protest the Russian Orthodox Church’s increasingly aggressive claims to political influence and cultural hegemony in Russian society. These newfound hegemonic aspirations are actively cultivated by the Russian political elite, as demonstrated not only their enthusiastic support for the church’s own actions and initiatives (partly described in the press release, below), but also by their appearances at Easter night services (broadcast live on several national TV channels) and by the role accorded to church hierarchs in such state ceremonies as President Dmitry Medvedev’s recent inauguration.
During the action, one of the students attempted to read the poem “Religion Is Stomatology,” which we have translated, below. Meanwhile, his classmates prostrated themselves on the steps of the cathedral in a fit of religio-dental ecstasy. Various parishioners and other God-fearing types forcibly attempted to disrupt the action. Fortunately, NSU students were able to leave the scene of their “crime” unharmed by the faithful.
Religion Is Stomatology
In the beginning was the word, but only for the few,
And therefore the word was with them and them alone.
The majority was simply not allowed to open their mouths,
And therefore they didn’t know any other words. Continue reading →