Russia’s Year of Culture is ‘a year of hooliganism’

Russia’s Year of Culture is ‘a year of hooliganism’


norman lebrecht

December 03, 2013

We have received this translation of an important protest by a leading theatre St Petersburg director:

The theatre director Lev Dodin suggests strengthening the legally binding right to artistic freedom of creativity.

Speaking at the Petersburg International Cultural Forum, the artistic director of the Maly Theatre, the Theatre of Europe, Lev Dodin gave his opinion that the Year of Culture in Russia threatens to turn into a year of hooliganism and yobbery. In the middle of November, after a performance on the Maly stage of the German production of ‘Death in Venice’, an insulting piece of graffiti appeared on the walls of the theatre.

“All this madness, when people write on the walls of museums and theatres, in order to intimidate by throwing pigs’ heads at a show which doesn’t please them, and which they haven’t even seen, has to stop. It is possible legally and constitutionally to strengthen artistic law”, said Dodin. According to a report from Interfax, he gave as an example certain Western countries, where the law protects artistic and creative freedom. “The Year of Culture should not turn into a year of hooliganism and yobbery, of so-called patriotic and so-called religious xenophobic fundamentalism”, Dodin concluded.

As well as the Maly Theatre, in November the Youth Theatre on the Fontanka suffered vandalism. There also an insulting inscription was written on the wall, and a pig’s head left.



The appearances of graffiti have been connected to the performance of the show ‘Death in Venice’, after the novella by Thomas Mann. The director of the show Thomas Ostermeier said after the performance that he dedicated the show to the gay community.

Earlier the graffito “Paedophile” appeared on the walls of the Erarta Museum. And the Nabokov Museum in Petersburg has also been a victim of vandalism. At first a bottle was thrown in at a window of the Vladimir Nabokov Apartment-Museum containing a note with words from the Old Testament on the sin of fornication. And later vandals wrote on the walls of the museum the word “Paedophile”.



  • Mikey says:

    And still there are people who say that there is “nothing wrong going on in Russia”.

    “lalalalalalala I don’t want to hear it lalalalalalalala”