Moscow Orthodox Protester Smashes Soviet Era Art


Sculptures We Do Not See, an exhibition showcasing Soviet Era art, opened last Friday at Moscow’s Manege Center. The exhibition included works from participants of the LeSS group, active in parallel to conventional art of the Soviet era, including artists such as Vadim Sidur, Nikolai Silis, and Vladimir Lemport. Topics surrounding the works include religious themes—a censored subject during Russia’s Soviet reign between 1922 and 1991.

Decades after creation, and the sculptures still show themselves capable of inciting controversy. “Delusional people came to the exhibition who broke several works belonging to the Manege collection, by Vadim Sidur,” Yelena Karneyeva, spokesperson for the Manege Museum, told AFP.

Head of the conservative religious organization God’s Will, Dmitry Tsorionov—who uses the pseudonym Dmitry Enteo—confirmed he was present opening day of the exhibition when the incident took place. “We called the police,” he said. “They will close the exhibition for offending believers.”

Enteo is notorious figure among Moscow’s cultural sectors. Earlier this year, he attempted to stop a gay pride rally in Moscow. In 2012, he took part in a threatening display against Moscow’s G-Spot Museum of Erotic Art. This time last year, following a lecture he gave, Enteo was criticized for his statements comparing Russian President Vladimir Putin to God. Enteo’s most recent alleged attack is heating up the digital media world with outrage from various sources criticizing his protesting methods. Radio journalist, Vladimir Varfolomeev of Echo of Moscow tweeted: “Now Orthodox warriors are smashing a sculpture exhibition in the center of Moscow. Hail the Russian IS.”

However, Vladimir Legoida, spokesperson for the Orthodox Church, told RIA Novosti news agency there should be a “legal assessment” of the attack, adding that believers “undoubtedly have the right to protest.” At the moment, whether Enteo will be charged with vandalism or any other charges is unclear.

Kimberly B. Johnsonslant_logo


Swedish peace group trolls Russian submarines with gay defence system

In a response to rogue Russian submarines thought to be in Swedish waters, one peace group has taken an innovative approach to defence

Forget Britain’s Trident, or Israel’s Iron Dome – peace-loving Sweden has come up with a much more innovative, and inclusive, system of defence.

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) is to deal with encroaching Russian submarines in Swedish waters with a device emitting anti-homophobia Morse code.

The device – officially titled The Singing Sailor Underwater Defence System, but nicknamed the “gay sailor” – is a “subsurface sonar system”, which sends out the message: “This way if you are gay” in an attempt to deter apparently homophobic Russians.

Russia has come under fire since the Putin administration introduced homophobic laws in 2013 banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations”, in a climate of increasing intolerance towards its LGBT population.

The design of the device features a neon, flashing sign of a dancing sailor, naked but for a cap and small white briefs, surrounded by hearts.

“Welcome to Sweden: Gay since 1944” is written in English and Russian, in a reference to the year of decriminalisation of homosexuality in the Scandinavian nation.

Sweden has cut its military budget in recent years but announced in March it would increase spending, as a result of alleged Cold War-style Russian aggression.

An operation involving helicopters, minesweepers and 200 troops was launched last October to search for a suspected rogue Russian submarine in Swedish waters.

Sweden is currently not a member of Nato. And thanks to the gay sailor defence system, it may never have to be.

By Hannah Jane ParkinsonGuardian


Anti-Gay Russian Lawmaker Milonov Protests Homoerotic Finnish Stamps

Credit: Itella Posti Artwork: TOM OF FINLAND © 1979, 1978 Tom of Finland Foundation

Credit: Itella Posti Artwork: TOM OF FINLAND © 1979, 1978 Tom of Finland Foundation

St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov has appealed to Russian Post to prevent an influx of postage stamps depicting homoerotic scenes by a Finnish artist that the outspoken deputy says violate Russia’s anti-gay-propaganda law.

Milonov has demanded that all letters and parcels featuring the stamps — a series released in September by Finland’s postal service to commemorate the artist Touko Laaksonen — be returned to sender and not allowed to enter Russia. Laaksonen, also known as Tom of Finland, was renowned for his homoerotic fetish art.

The stamps that have so enraged Milonov feature several provocative images, such as a man’s bare buttocks with another man’s face visible between his legs, and a naked man sitting between another man’s legs.

In a letter to the head of Russian Post, Dmitry Strashnov, Milonov condemned the stamps for “contravening Russian law,” the TASS news agency reported Saturday.

“They are basically elements of homosexual propaganda, which is banned in our country. I ask the leadership of Russian Post to pay close attention to this request. In addition, I urge the Finns themselves, our close neighbors, to refrain from using these stamps when sending letters to Russia,” Milonov wrote, TASS reported.

Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law, which came into effect in summer 2013, prohibits the promotion of nontraditional sexual relations among minors.

Milonov, who spearheaded the legislation’s adoption, told TASS that he learned of the stamps from a “like-minded person” in Finland who was equally outraged by their appearance.

Finnish broadcasting company Yle apparently anticipated Milonov’s reaction, having conducted an experiment in September immediately after the release of the stamps to see if they could get past Russian customs officials, TASS reported.

Several letters featuring the stamps were sent from Finland to Moscow and St. Petersburg, and all of them reached their destinations, the report said.

The stamps proved hugely popular even before their release, with advance orders coming in from 178 different countries, Finland’s postal service, Itella Posti, said on its website.

“Tens of thousands of Tom of Finland stamp sheets were pre-ordered before issuing,” Markku Penttinen, the company’s development director, was quoted as saying by Forbes earlier this month.

By Allison Quinn