March 08, 2023

A Painter's Protest


A Painter's Protest
A photo of the Russian-occupation administration building in Eupatoria, Crimea, smeared with paint in the Ukrainian colors by Bodgan Ziza. Bogdan Ziza, @webogdanziza.

In an interview with Krym.Realii, Crimean artist Bogdan Ziza, who was arrested after dousing blue and yellow paint on administrative buildings in Yevpatoria, in Russian-occupied Crimea, said that he was beaten by security personnel and forced to record videos apologizing to the Russian military and to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On the night of May 16, 2022, Ziza saturated a building belonging to the city administration of Yevpatoria with blue and yellow paint and then threw a Molotov cocktail at it. The façade of the building was undamaged. In the interview, Ziza said that the Molotov cocktail was thrown in order to create compelling video footage, not to set the building alight.

After the incident, Ziza was arrested for attempted terrorism, and charged under four articles of the Russian Criminal Code relating to terrorism and politically motivated vandalism. According to Mediazona, Ziza's arrest only became known four days after his detention, before which his whereabouts were unknown. Afterward, in June 2022, Ziza was added to a government list of extremists and terrorists.

A video of Ziza apologizing to Crimeans and residents of Yevpatoria for his actions was published by Crimea24 the same day as the incident. Ziza appears confused and distressed in the video, with his clothes torn but with no visible injuries. Ziza told Krym.Realii that five videos were made in total, and that they were filmed by FSB officers, who threatened him.

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