Russian Authorities Shut Down Art Opening

Natalya Chernova.  Source: nbp-info.ruPskov, April 13th: The opening of an art exhibit titled “Prison, Madness, Equality and Justice” has been cancelled by local police and authorities in Western Russian city of Pskov. As the Sobkor®ru news agency reports, the show’s organizers believe that the reasons given by officials –alleged safety issues—may in fact be manufactured.

“At the present moment, people wishing to attend the exhibit are gathered by the entrance, however they are facing an shut door,” said Natalya Chernova, the artist behind the opening. Before the exhibit began, building personnel told Chernova that the show must be stopped for technical reasons: Simultaneously, the electricity had been cut, the roof had leaked and the sewage pipes had burst. According to Chernova, the building super then began taking down her artwork.

Meanwhile, a van-load of OMON riot police arrived at the scene. Law enforcement officers, led by the militsiya, arrested two people waiting to the show to begin. “They came earlier, and were smoking and standing by the entrance,” Chernova said. The militsiya also took down the names and identifying information of the artist as well as the exhibit’s organizers.

National Bolsheviks defenestrate Putin portrait.  Source: AP (c)Natalya Chernova created the exhibit’s artwork and poetry while locked away in pre-trial detention over a 2004 stunt organized by the banned National Bolshevik Party. During the Moscow protest, around 40 National Bolshevik activists stormed the presidential information administration building, and denounced reforms to regional elections legislation and state welfare benefits enacted by President Vladimir Putin. Chernova was ultimately sentenced to three years behind bars for her role in the event.