sâmbătă, 30 mai 2009
Another artist arrested... this time in Russia
Russian contemporary artist detained by Novosibirsk police
Friday, May 22, 2009
Contemporary Russian artist, cameraman, antifascist, political and cultural activist Artem Loskutov (22 years) was arrested on May 15 by security forces in Novosibirsk, and is now being held at a police station awaiting trial.
He has been charged with drug possession and “organizing a criminal group for mass disturbances, vandalism of shops and offices, arson and the defacement of private property”.
In the morning of May 15, one of the heads of Novosibirsk’s anti-extremist militia task force phoned Loskutov and invited to stop by for a conversation. Artem declined this invitation because he was busy with preparations for his diploma project at the university, and asked for an official notice to be called in for questioning. The police officer answered that Artem was being impudent and said, “I will send a car with a dog to find you. We will drive to your workplace.” But they did not.
In the evening of the same day, Artem was surrounded by three plainclothesmen and handcuffed. They told him that he was being charged with a criminal act, but did not tell him which one, nor did they show any official documents or police badges. After that, they drove into the nearest courtyard and ransacked Artems bag. Here, they
“found” a package with a green substance and took Artem to the local militia. According to Artem’s lawyer Valentin Demidenko, Artem maintains that he was not in possession of any illegal substances and the case is being fabricated. In addition to the drug charge, Artem is being charged with political extremism and conspiracy to create public unrest.
Artem Loskoutov is well known in Novosibirsk as one of the leaders of the underground art-scene. Since 2004, he has developed a number of performances, known to international artistic community. He is also the founder and leader of the contemporary art group “Babyshka posle pokhoron” (www.kissmybabushka.com) and has made several films. To a broader public, Artem is primarily known as leader of Monstration, a street performance unique to the Russian situation. This week, he is
to defend his diploma thesis at university, but will not be to do it, as he is still being detained. He has never been implicated or involved in any “extremist” actions, although his art practice could be considered subversive. In the history of the Novosibirsk art scene, this case is completely unprecedented.
Lubov Belyatskaya, who witnessed Artem’ capture, is coordinating efforts to help him. Her phone: (007) 913-370-78-60