November 03, 2021

Make Not War Art


Make Not War Art

“In connection with the incident, the State Hermitage was forced to apply to the prosecutor's office of St. Petersburg with a statement to conduct a prosecutor's check and assess the actions of a citizen for possible violations of the legislation of the Russian Federation, including in terms of public insult to the memory of the Defenders of the Fatherland.”

– The Press Service of the St. Petersburg Hermitage

Artist Kirill Smorodin may have violated one of Russia’s laws this month banning insults to veterans. On October 27, the Press Service announced that Smorodin had hung his portrait, where he was depicted in the uniform of a soldier of the Patriotic War of 1812, in the Military Gallery of 1812. Smorodin documented the stunt on his Instagram page, although the painting has since been removed both from social media and the wall of the Hermitage.

In May 2021, Russia passed legislation that punishes individuals who insult the veterans of WWII, also known as the Great Patriotic War. A conviction can carry a sentence of up to five years in jail. While the Patriotic War of 1812 (Russia's part of the Napoleonic Wars) isn't technically covered, as its veterans are much older than WWII participants, this decision could change that.

Let's hope, for Smorodin's sake, that he does not end up in the slammer. It's not like he caricatured Alexander Lukashenko as Medusa or anything...

 

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