Russia's anti-extremist laws censor political art.
Region: Russia and Central Asia
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Mixed Media
Artist: Alexander Shchednov, also known in Russia's art circles as Shurik
Confronting Bodies: Russian law enforcement, officials in Voronehz, Russia
Date of Action: June 11, 2009
Location: Voronehz, Russia
Description of Artwork: The collage Shchednov attempted to hang depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin's face superimposed over a woman's body in a low-cut evening dress. A slogan over the image read, "Oh I don't know ... a third presidential [term] ... it's too much, on the other hand [three is a charm]."
The Incident: On June 11th Shchednov was in the process of hanging the collage on the side of a building outside the town hall of Voronehz, Russia when he was arrested. Elena Dudukina of the Voronezh human-rights protection group Voronezh-Chernozemye said Shchednov was asked to give the police a $95 bribe to avoid arrest. When he refused, he was detained overnight and, according to Dudukina, was beaten in custody. Shchednov is one of many artists who have recently been arrested or censored for insulting authority. While there is no explicit Russian law that forbids antiestablishment art work, legislation passed in 2002 forbids an expression of extremism. This policy was intended to combat far-right nationalism, but another consequence has been a loop hole for law enforcement figures to suppress controversial artistic creations.
Results of Incident: A trial was scheduled for June 15, but Shchednov failed to appear, so the hearing was postponed. No updates have been found.