February 6, 2012

Artistic dissidence goes viral in Russia

Anti-Putin activists find creative ways to speak out ahead of elections.
As Russia’s March 4 presidential election approaches, a combination of growing opposition against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, claims of election fraud, and limited press freedom has spurred artistic dissidence in the streets and online.

Anti-Putin activists are expressing their dissatisfaction through unconventional demonstrations, including rallies “staged” by toys and impromptu street performances. In one example, the Russian punk rock band Robkaf’s anthem “Our Madhouse is Voting for Putin,” has gone viral online.

Some Russian activists already have a history of taking their protest methods to greater extremes. Members of the “radical art collective” Voina, which means “war” in Russian, were arrested in past years for allegedly overturning police cars and attacking their vehicles with Molotov cocktails.

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to Serhiy Kudelia, lecturer at John Hopkins University and Oleg Vorotnikov, head of the Voina collective.

What do you think? Will artistic dissidence hold sway over Russia’s presidential election? Send us your thoughts and comments on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #AJStream.

These are some of the social media elements featured in this episode of The Stream: