A fantastic article by John Freedman in The Moscow Times. Historically, the Russian artistic community avoids politics–after all, who else is going to give them money? But, as Freedman illuminates, this tendency may be changing.
To give one example from the article:
In response to the recent sentencing of Russian politician Boris Nemtsov to 15 days in jail, [Russian playwright and director Mikhail] Ugarov publicly called for people to bring their old, unwanted chairs and leave them at the doorstep of the Tverskoi Court where the trial was held.
The reason? Because when Nemtsov was arraigned for resisting arrest at a political demonstration of opposition forces on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad on Dec. 31, he was told there were no chairs available and was made to stand for several hours.
This article is particularly inspiring because it gives light to the powerful, important roles that artists can play when living in fear, under totalitarian or autocratic governments.
Playwrights, Actors Lash Out Against State by John Freedman in The Moscow Times, January 11, 2011