Sex, Scandal, And The Russian Opposition

One of the most interesting new bloggers on the Russia watching scene is Augis Barkov and his Red Hot Russia. Much like chinaSMACK for China, he searches out trending stories on Runet and translates them – with comments from netizens – for a wider English-speaking audience. Some of his topics I found interesting included Chechen fashion“Naked Party of Love”, and Russian dating profiles (from the 1900’s!). Augis recently wrote this exclusive article for Da Russophile on the Russian opposition’s use of sex, scandal, and slapstick to highlight various social and political issues.

There is no such thing as bad publicity. This paradigm works fairly well in advertising consumption products from chewing gum to works of art. But will it succeed in advertising political ideas? Can they be promoted by means of sex and scandals?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but some activists of Russian opposition seem to believe in Succès de scandale. Let me describe the most infamous examples of such acts and leave to readers the judgment whether they were performed by artists or hooligans, liberals or liberasts.

First name which springs to mind in relation to social and political protests expressed in scandalous form is the art-group “Voina” [“War”].

They are best known for the pornographic act which took place in Moscow Museum of Biology in 2008. Few days before the presidential elections in Russia (won by Dmitry Medvedev) a group of 12 activists conducted an orgy in one of the rooms of museum. Five couples simultaneously engaged in sexual intercourse while two other members were holding placard with the writing “Fuck for the Heir Puppy Bear!”.

[Note: Puppy Bear (in Russian “медвежонок”) has the same root as Medvedev’s surname (“Медведев”)]

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