A photography exhibition in Moscow by the controversial US photographer Jock Sturges was closed on Sunday, September 25, after a violent demonstration by protesters, probably organized by the Russian government as part of Putin’s propaganda efforts. The exhibition included photographs of naked, overage young people – but was branded as “pornographic” by protesters and Russia’s ombudsman for children.
One of the protesters was heard screaming: “We need Russian values here, we don’t need Western values”.
Members of the (officially) non-governmental organization Officers of Russia, dressed in blue uniforms, blocked the entrance to prevent members of the public from getting inside. A lone protester reportedly threw a solution containing urine at some of the pictures. This video shows a protester being restrained – while stains can be seen on the walls of the exhibition.
Russian politician Elena Mizulina, who crafted a virulently homophobic “gay propaganda law” back in 2013, called the exhibit “pedophile”, saying it showcased “child pornography” (even though there were no underage models in the works of the American artist).
Anton Tsvetkov, a member of Russia’s Public Chamber, called the American photographs ‘offensive’ towards victims of pedophilia. He was also outraged that such “indecency” was exhibited right in the heart of Moscow, at the Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, which is not far from the Kremlin.
In the last several years Russia has been promoting “traditional family values”. The “gay propaganda law”, legislation on pornography and a ban on the use of curse words in any work of performance art, are only a few examples of the state’s attempt to control individual liberty. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin seems perfectly happy that Russia’s male population is drinking itself to death.