Muscovites strolling along central Tverskoi Bulvar on Friday risked cardiac arrest as they walked past life-size dummies of a balaclava-clad Islamic State fighter and a hostage in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in a cage. The figures were surrounded by plastic skulls, with a petrol can thrown in for explanatory purposes.
On closer inspection, the terrifying “installation” proved to be a publicity stunt by the pro-Kremlin art group Glavplakat, promoting their latest book titled “AnISILation: Total Obliteration,” which the provocateurs promised would reveal the extremist group's “leaders, cruel methods …, the reasons why Russia is fighting IS terrorists, as well as the IS supporters among us.”
IS, also referred to as ISIL, is banned in Russia as a terrorist organization.
На Тверской сейчас: Фото: Александра Генрих pic.twitter.com/9YVEinqn3g— Москва 24 (@infomoscow24) November 20, 2015
According to Glavplakat, supporters of the Islamic State can be found among the ranks of the Russian opposition, which “is waging an information war with [Russia] arm in arm with the anti-Russian forces of the West, marrying 'the fight against the regime' with support for jihadists.”
Those clued in on Glavplakat's oeuvre to date were perhaps less surprised than most. The group's previous book “Khodorkovsky: The Book of the Dead” set out to provide obituaries for “everyone who stood in the oligarch's way in the 1990s.”
Their posters had also advertised a fictional auction of guns, Molotov cocktails and, interestingly, skipping ropes to be held in support of anti-Kremlin protesters put on trial in the Bolotnaya Square case, and proclaimed London the capital of the Open Russia movement founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon and once Russia's richest man.
Free copies of the new book, which Glavplakat says is “aimed at the general reader,” were handed out by volunteers on Tverskoi Bulvar.