A guide to creative Russia


Performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky cuts of earlobe in latest act of protest

Pyotr Pavlensky sitting on the roof of the Serbsky State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry in Moscow on Sunday

Pyotr Pavlensky, the performance artist and political activist, was removed from the roof of a Moscow psychiatry institution on Sunday after he cut off his right earlobe with a kitchen knife in protest against the politically motivated use of psychiatry in Russia. Staging his performance — entitled Separation — at the Serbsky State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry, an institution which became notorious during Soviet times for declaring political dissidents as mentally ill, Pavlensky's performance was a commentary on the resurgence of corrupt psychiatric practices in contemporary Russia.   

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October 17, 2014

Moscow design week, Putin’s tiger and Edward Snowden; news you may have missed

Moscow Design Week opens

Moscow Design Week, an event celebrating the development of culture, design and business in Russia, has opened this week, with events and installations themed around “Innovation to save the planet”. A selection of events, from talks about the media, restaurant design and how to create innovative spaces will run throughout the week, in addition to exhibits of some of the latest in art, culture and furniture design.

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Russia’s first sound art museum opens in Moscow

Still from Nikolay Polissky’s Universal Mind installation

Russia’s media art space Electromuseum has teamed up with online experimental music community SA))_Q-0, to launch Moscow’s first sound-art gallery. The first permanent project of its kind in Russia, the Moscow Sound Art Gallery (MSAG) is both technically and conceptually designed to exhibit works of experimental sound art and new media-related sound technology.

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October 16, 2014

Edward Snowden approached to host Russian TV series about secret services

American whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been approached by Russia’s nationalist Liberal Democracy Party (LDPR) to host a television programme on secret services and intelligence gathering. The proposed series, to be aired on the party’s own TV channel LDPR-TV, is set to explore many aspects of international intelligence activity. According to LDPR politician Andrei Svintsov, it is hoped that Snowden will bring extensive expertise to the programme.

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October 13, 2014

Opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta given official warning over “extremism”

Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia’s leading opposition newspapers, has been issued with an official warning from Russia’s state media watchdog Roskomnadzor, who has accused the publication of violating the country’s anti-extremism laws. Known for its hard-hitting journalism and biting critique of the Kremlin, Novaya Gazeta is the latest in a rapidly growing pool of independent media publications to be targeted by the watchdog in recent months.

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October 10, 2014

Parkour on the Acropolis, a Russian ‘Luther’ and anti-alcoholism walks; news you may have missed

Two Siberian tourists taken to court after practicing parkour on the Acropolis

Two Siberian tourists were taken to court in Greece last week after the pair damaged part of the Acropolis of Athens while practicing parkour — urban freerunning which uses urban territories as obstacle courses. The duo ignored calls from a guard to stop, continuing their acrobatics until a chunk of the wall crumbled, causing several stones to collapse, according to Greek media. One of the men was given a suspended 30-day sentence and the other cleared of all charges.    

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October 10, 2014

Russian Documentary Film Festival kicks off in New York

Now in its seventh year, the annual Russian Documentary Film Festival in New York, is kicking off today in Manhattan, with around 20 documentaries receiving their American premieres over the three-day event. Exploring Russian history and contemporary society, the line-up features films made by Russian, American and Russian-speaking diaspora directors.

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October 09, 2014

Online reading marathon of Anna Karenina goes viral

Keira Knightley playing Anna Karenina

A 36-hour online reading marathon of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel Anna Karenina has gone viral, with the live broadcast posted on YouTube and Google last week receiving over 3 million hits so far. The project, entitled Karenina. Live Edition, was launched by Google Russia and Tolstoy’s Yasnaya Polyana Memorial Estate in a bid to establish links between literature lovers around the world.  

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Cardboard cut-out of Putin props up Geneva’s Broken Chair

The sculpture of the Broken Chair in front of the Palace of Nations, home of the UN office in Geneva, got a presidential makeover this week, after a 9.8-foot figure of Russian President Vladimir Putin stood in place of the statue’s missing leg in honour of his 62nd birthday.  

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October 07, 2014

Russian opposition group launches petition to ban pro-Kremlin singers from UK


The London-based Russian opposition group Govorite Gromche (Speak Up) has launched a petition to have the well-known Russian singers Alla Perfilova, also known by her stage name Valeriya, and Joseph Kobzon banned from entering the UK for their upcoming concerts due to their vocal pro-Kremlin support.  

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