New Year’s Eve is a huge deal to the Russian people. So, at 11:25 pm on December 31st, the notorious art group Voina (“War”) climbed the fence into the St. Petersburg precinct №71, set a police prisoner transport truck ablaze and gave the Russian people “a gift” of “Eternal Fire.” Read on for action video and an explanation.
The “auto-da-fe” action was performed with the swiftness of their epic bridge graffiti dick bombing — the catalyst of Voina’s world fame. Armed with Molotov cocktails, Oleg Vorotnikov, Leonid Nikolayev, a pregnant Natalia Sokol and other activists burned up the “prison-on-wheels” used to detain protestors after opposition rallies, “prisons” that they and their friends are intimately familiar with.
In an impassioned, theatrical statement on their blog and Facebook, Voina’s president Leonid “Fucked Lenya” Nikolayev aka Bucket Man explains that this action “Fucked Prometheus” is “not art” — it is “beyond art.” He makes allusions to the Renaissance and repeated references to the police transport van as a trash truck.
“Who the fuck needs art when there are trash vampires, trash trucks and werewolves in uniform about? This fire engulfing the trash must be an Eternal Fire… Let’s destroy all prisons! Freedom to all political prisoners! Feds don’t fuck us – we fuck feds! Happy New Year, comrades!”
The Russian government has slapped the Voina group with the label “Anarchists syndicate” but, until now, it hasn’t quite deserved it. Yet, even though this is by far their most literally destructive performance, and perhaps it “is not art” like Leonid says, I still feel like it fits into the construct of their “Handbook.”
“Voina is involved in developing a new political language with which to adequately address reality,” Leonid has once explained, introducing their ongoing series of extreme artistic performances that serve as guidance for survival in the Russian Federation. Chapter 1: “How to Snatch a Chicken: A Tale of How One Cunt fed the Whole of the Group Voina.” Chapter 2: “Fuck [It] Yourself!” (or the overturned cop car that almost landed them in jail for seven years.) And now, Chapter 3: “If Your Friend Is in Jail.”
Voina rep’s Facebook brags that the vehicle was “totally burned down” and the Russian police have confirmed that the a police van had “suffered damages to the interior.” As a protest action calling for “freedom to political prisoners” including friends and a member of Voina currently in detention, Voina group has vowed to burn one vehicle for each day their friends are in jail. Stay tuned?
All ANIMAL Voina news here.