Tuesday 13 July 2010

Oh The Irony - the West, Russia and free speech

The idea the west is a bastion of free speech is laughable.

Say anything about Muslims, gays, lesbians, ethnic minorities etc and the media, cops, and courts will be all over you.

The west censors more opinions due to political correctness than the Soviet Union or the Nazis did.

After the sickening spectacle of the media censoring the Mohammed Cartoons, the idea the media can attack Russia is pathetic.

Journalists are gutless arseholes in the West.

Oh the irony of attacking Russia.

It appears that the attack on Iran is imminent and the Russians must be slandered as they support Iran.


The Soviet penchant for Neanderthal art censorship is alive and well

By Andrew Osborn World Last updated: July 13th, 2010

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Co-organizers of the Forbidden Art exhibition Andrei Yerofeyev and Yuri Samodurov Photo: EPA

Co-organizers of the Forbidden Art exhibition Andrei Yerofeyev and Yuri Samodurov Photo: EPA

In 1974, crusty Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev’s bulldozers infamously destroyed an exhibition of avant-garde art in Moscow. More than three decades later, the Kremlin has dispensed with the bulldozers in favour of the courts.

A judge on Monday found two well known museum curators guilty of inciting religious hatred. Yuri Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev were fined the equivalent of £7,500 and handed criminal convictions. Their crime: staging a tongue-in-cheek exhibition of modern art that poked fun at consumerism, religious iconography, Muslims, Russia’s dependence on oil, the police, and Russian fears of being overrun by the Chinese. Plenty of targets there then. Yet it was the increasingly powerful Russian Orthodox Church that decided to take offence. I say decided because you really had to go out of your way to even see the offending exhibition which was only on for a few days in 2007 before it was vandalised, tragic-comically, by outraged altar boys.

For a start, it was held in the relative obscurity of Moscow’s Andrei Sakharov museum rather than one of the Russian capital’s big galleries. The art was hidden behind a black curtain and could only be viewed through special peepholes. Nor was photography allowed.

Called “Forbidden Art,” the exhibition gathered together works of art that other mainstream galleries had baulked at. When it came to Christianity, some of the exhibits were not exactly respectful, it’s true. They included Jesus Christ’s head next to McDonald’s golden arches, an icon of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus hewn from material that looked like black caviar, and Jesus’ head replaced by that of Mickey Mouse and Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.

Cheap, tacky, tasteless? Perhaps. Criminal and liable to incite religious strife? Definitely not. But ultra-nationalist religious activists saw things differently. They and state prosecutors wanted the two “criminals” who had the temerity to stage such an exhibition to go to jail for three years each.

The sentence they actually received – fines and criminal convictions – seemed mercifully mild by comparison. Yet it sent a depressing signal to Russian society. Almost twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, it suddenly seemed as if the Soviet penchant for Neanderthal art censorship was alive and well. It also said a lot about the power of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Kremlin leaders from Vladimir Putin to Dmitry Medvedev have helped facilitate its revival, using it to forge a new national identity and to stoke patriotism. Mandatory religious education classes have been introduced in 19 regions ahead of a nationwide roll-out, the church has been officially given an advisory role in government policy making, and its head, Patriarch Kirill 1, has become a powerful and ultra-conservative moral arbiter granted precious air time on state TV.

Yet at the same time, President Medvedev has flirtingly beat the drum of modernisation in a relentless PR campaign that is a world away from the ultra-conservatism of the church. Barely a day goes by without him preaching how Russia needs to modernise and become an enlightened law-based society to which foreigners will, he hopes, flock.

In that context, Monday’s obscurantist ruling on the art exhibition seriously damaged Russia’s and Mr Medvedev’s reputation. If he wants to modernise his country, Mr Medvedev might want to start with first principles such as freedom of expression. With this case, he had yet another chance to show he was serious about change. Yet again, he failed. It seems more and more that while Mr Medvedev likes paying lip-service to the idea of Western-style democracy and human rights, he is really only interested in importing Western economic and technological success.

Monday’s art ruling was not even more of the same. It was a small but dangerous step back into Russia’s dark twentieth century past.


Anonymous said...

Gibson is clued up to the NWO, he detailed Clinton as being NWO at a time when almost no one discussed it, they have had it in for Mel for many years.

A shame the main site won't have the balls to print this article.

What a shame Mel has not made a film on the NWO as he sees it, it would be massive and could change the coarse of history as they rely on ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Talk about double standards, the nerve these NWO bastards have.

Anonymous said...

Inspirational story. It shows the power of art.

So when is the BNP going to hold it's own art exhibition?

I want to see screaming headlines in the Guardian about a BNP art exhibition coming to a university near you.

I want to see hysterical leftists protesting outside the travelling BNP art exhibition. Headlines galore.

I want to see leftists completely over-react.

I want to see people who actually enter the art exhibition say that the art wasn't spewing hate but thought provoking and intelligent.

I want to see the leftists getting mocked for protesting against something they've never even looked at and for something that the general public finds interesting and thought provoking.

I want to see stereotypes re-written: Leftists portrayed as screaming thugs and BNP'ers portrayed as intelligent thought provoking artists.

I want to see the general public and artist community be completely appalled by the disgraceful behaviour of the protesting leftists.

Only a travelling BNP art exhibition of British universities can deliver this.

Give me a BNP art exhibition.