Russia: Art historian says ‘ideological censorship’ is happening in Russia

1 July 2014

In a candid interview with the Germany’s Deutsche Welle in May 2014, the Russian art historian Ekaterina Degot stated that freedom in Russia’s cultural sector is quickly diminishing:


“A month ago, or even one week ago, I wouldn’t have told you what I’ll say to you now,” she said. “Independent-minded people urgently need support. What we’re experiencing at the moment can be compared to the Iranian Revolution — there we saw a catastrophic fundamentalism and clericalization of knowledge as well as culture.”


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Russia’s new culture-war

In an article in the Moscow Times John Freedman parallels the censorship of Russian artists in the 1920s and early 1930s with the situation in Russia today:

“I’ve seen this before. Not in my lifetime, no. I saw it unfold before my astonished eyes in crumbling, yellowing newspaper clippings from the late 1920s and early 1930s. I saw it in stack after stack of microfiche materials. I saw it in the letters, poems, stories, plays and memoirs of those who lived through the nightmare of a culture collapsing on itself and its citizens. Now I am seeing it again in newspapers and the internet. I am hearing it on the radio and watching it on television.

Headlines and calls to ‘Attack!’ and ‘Ban!’ Accusations of ‘Unpatriotic!’ The split of artists into ‘Our’ writers and ‘Not Our’ writers. The vilification of anything foreign and those influenced by ‘decadent, evil’ foreign culture. Is this 1933 or 2014?”

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Shock in Russia over lawmakers’ ‘absurd’ bills

President Vladimir Putin has signed off on a ban on the use of swear words in films, theatre, media and art that will enter into force on July 1. The initiatives come amid a fresh wave of anti-Western propaganda and the deadly crisis in Ukraine, reported AFP from Moscow.

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» The Calvert Journal – 14 July 2014:
Russian website to list artworks hit by new swearing ban
The project is a response to a new law banning the use of profanity in the arts, which came into effect on 1 July.

» The Calvert Journal – 30 June 2014:
WTF? Profanity, purity and politics — the battle for the Russian language
With the swearing ban coming into effect on 1 July, Maryam Omidi looks at the war of words over the Russian language

Russia and India Report – 2 July 2014:
Profanity banned on TV, movies and literature
A law banning the use of swearwords in television, movies, literature, media reporting, concerts, and theatrical productions came into force on July 1. Violators will have to pay hefty fines. Article by Nikolay Litovkin, RIR.


Russia: Performance artist arrested for Ukraine solidarity protest

The performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky who made international headlines in 2013 by nailing his scrotum to cobblestones on Moscow’s Red Square was detained in February 2014 for lighting a pyre of car tires in St. Petersburg in a show of solidarity with the with the anti-government protesters in Ukraine.

The tyres, set alight next to the Christ of the Saviour on Blood church, were intended to echo the barricades set up by protesters around Independence Square, known as Maidan, in Kiev. As part of the performance, entitled ‘Freedom’, other activists waved Ukrainian flags and banged on sheets of metal until police and firefighters arrived.

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