Support The Moscow Times!

Penis Protest Rises to Greet Economic Forum

People standing in front of the raised Liteiny Bridge, with a giant penis painted on it, in St. Petersburg on Monday. Reuters

ST. PETERSBURG — Radical artists painted a giant protest penis on a drawbridge in central St. Petersburg ahead of an international economic forum, police said Wednesday.

Measuring 65 meters long and 27 meters across, the light-colored phallus rises and glistens against the imperial-era capital's elegant skyline when the bridge is drawn up to let ships pass in the twilit northern summer nights.

Artists from the politically minded art collective Voina, or War, said they drew the graffiti on Monday to protest the heightened security measures expected at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which opens Thursday.

Unsanctioned political art or public messages in the form of graffiti and painting are extremely rare in Russia.

"We have painted a giant phallus to show what the FSB and Interior Ministry are doing in terms of security for the forum," Voina said in a statement.

When the bridge is opened, the erect-looking penis stands beside the local headquarters of the FSB, or Federal Security Service.

The forum will draw international business leaders and will be attended by President Dmitry Medvedev. St. Petersburg is the hometown of both Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer and FSB chief.

The phallus was still visible Wednesday, when one of the artists was fined by police, a spokesman said.

Voina became a household name in the Russian blogger scene two years ago when it filmed five couples having sex a day before Russia's last presidential election. The stunt was seen as a wry pun on the handover of power.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more