August 14, 2023

A Crackdown of Another Kind


A Crackdown of Another Kind
St. Basil's Cathedral, left, near the Kremlin, right, on Red Square. The Russian Life files.

Russia's State Historical Museum has called for online vendors to stop using the image of St. Basil's Cathedral, a site the museum runs, on their wares without express permission.

The announcement applies to a range of souvenirs, including puzzles, T-shirts, notebooks, and calendars. Instead, the museum has asked that creators and sellers of merchandise reach out via written request detailing the potential use of the image. From there, and after submitting a fee ranging between R200 ($2) and R240,000 ($2,400), depending on the intended use, the museum will give written permission for the seller to copy the cathedral's image.

In addition, the museum administration will start issuing fines to vendors who are already selling goods bearing the image of St. Basil's.

The museum hopes that this control will prevent the use of the image of the cathedral on "obscene products that offend human dignity or contribute to lowering the status of cultural objects."

St. Basil's Cathedral is one of Moscow's main landmarks and is located at the heart of the city. Built in the sixteenth century under Ivan the Terrible, it is an instantly-recognizable symbol of Russia. Today, the State Historical Museum oversees the preservation and administration of St. Basil's and also runs a handful of public collections of artifacts.

Of course, the State Historical Museum is not the only Russian state entity enforcing crackdowns these days...

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