Paintbrush in Hand, a Russian Muralist Wages His Own War


Across from the city’s voenkomat, or army commissariat, the cream-colored partitions on Lenin Street are smeared haphazardly with gobs of white paint. Underneath, Mr. Ovchinnikov mentioned, is his portray of a woman sporting the blue and yellow of Ukraine as three missiles fly overhead. Underneath, in massive, daring letters: “Stop this!!!”

After portray over the graffiti, the authorities turned their consideration to Mr. Ovchinnikov, fining him 35,000 rubles, about $560, and accusing him of “discrediting the Russian armed forces.”

“A fine for the fact that I want peace,” Mr. Ovchinnikov mentioned. “I’m discrediting our military. How disgraceful.”

His supporters despatched donations to assist him cowl the tremendous.

Nearby, within the city’s small central park, Mr. Ovchinnikov pointed to a statue of Lenin. It is just not not like these standing in virtually each Russian city to this present day. “That’s our leader,” he mentioned sarcastically. The statue, he famous with a wry smile, is pointing straight on the voenkomat.

In 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and fomented separatist actions in jap Ukraine, Mr. Ovchinnikov drew a Ukrainian flag on the statue’s pedestal. I didn’t have time to write ‘Glory to Ukraine,’” he mentioned. “They came and picked me up right away.”


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