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Art Group Flips Police Cars

Artist Alexei Plutser-Sarno says it took nine seconds to flip each police car.

Several police cars were overturned in St. Petersburg in a stunt claimed on Monday by the same group of artists that painted a huge penis on a drawbridge in June.

An artist with the group, Voina, or War, published photos on Monday on his blog of what he called an anti-police "Palace Revolution” in the vicinity of the downtown Mikhailovsky Palace.

The first car was overturned after a ball belonging to a child of one of the artists rolled under it, the artist-blogger, Alexei Plutser-Sarno, said on his blog. After that, the artists targeted four to six other police vehicles.

It took the activists nine seconds to flip each car, he said.

The group wanted to provoke a discussion about widespread corruption and power abuse in the police force, Plutser-Sarno said in an e-mailed statement.

He added that Voina did not fear prosecution.

“More than 10 criminal cases have been opened against the group. There will be one more, so what?" he said.

"They don't need us: We have neither money nor property, so there's nothing to get from us, and the 'werewolves in epaulets' don't work for no reason and for free,” Plutser-Sarno said, referring to a nickname for corrupt policemen.

A spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg traffic police confirmed Monday that at least one car sustained slight damages when it was overturned by unidentified attackers last week.

Police are looking into the incident, the spokeswoman told Ekho Moskvy radio, without elaborating whether any Voina members face charges. Hooliganism charges are punishable with up to seven years in prison.

Voina has previously staged other radical performances bordering on hooliganism. They organized a sex orgy in the Biological Museum in Moscow in 2008 and painted a 65-meter penis on a St. Petersburg drawbridge on the eve of an international economic forum in June.

David Riff, an expert in Russian art, said prosecution would allow Voina to draw even more attention to their activities. 
"The aim of art is to provoke and oppose, and Voina is the only group now which still performs these kinds of things," Riff said by telephone. "But it doesn't mean that they can't be prosecuted. It's their own choice."

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