RUSSIA

Coup d'état in Moscow

Webusers are puzzled over photos of an enormous green skull and crossbones projected onto the Russian Houses of Parliament, which appeared last week. A terrorist threat? A music file-share warning? One of our Observers found out who did it, and asked them why. Read more...

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Webusers are puzzled over photos of an enormous green skull and crossbones projected onto the Russian Houses of Parliament, which appeared last week. A terrorist threat? A music file-share warning? One of our Observers found out who did it, and asked them why.

It's not easy to imagine a skull and crossbones being projected onto the government house of many countries without it wreaking havoc. And yet last week, a group of artists broke into the top floor of a building and beamed across their message, in bright green, to the Russian government. Our Observer spoke to one of the members of art group "Voina", who carried out the stunt. Their message was not, in fact, a death threat but a warning that "Russian people are dying as the new rich swim in luxury". (See Alexey's comment below).

Voina is considered the most controversial art group in Russia and known for, amongst other things, throwing a live cat over the counter of a McDonald's restaurant, having an orgy in Moscow's biological museum, and having a sit-down dinner party on the metro in mourning the prolific Russian poet Dmitri Prigov.

 

"If the group had done the same thing (…) in the USA, its members would now be behind bars"

Alexey Plutser-Sarno is an artist and journalist and an honourary member of the "Voina" art group.

Voina's actions have certain socio-political undertones, but they are primarily ARTISTS' statements on political issues. The group does not participate in any political organisation. Quite the contrary: the opposition constantly accuses the group of buffoonery and clownery. Because the actions of the group are always ironic, the Russian opposition find it absolutely unacceptable, because they totally lack a sense of humour.

Our actions are fables; allegories. The Russian government has more important things to do today than to punish artists and journalists. I think that the West thinks the "horrors" in Russia are much worse than they are. For example, when Voina had sex in the Zoological museum, the Ministry of the Interior officially stated that it wasn't a penal offence. If the group had done the same thing in any state museum in the USA, its members would now be behind bars."