This past weekend at the Moscow Book Festival the 32-year-old deputy head of the Central Committee of the ruling United Russia Party, Aleksei Chadaev, attacked n+1 contributor and friend, the poet Kirill Medvedev, during a dispute at a panel hosted by the Kremlin-financed website Liberty.ru. Chadaev is the author of the 2005 book Putin: His Ideology, which the presidential administration called a profound work. Medvedev is the author of two poetry collections and two essay collections as well as a founding member of the socialist group Vpered (Forward). He has also translated into Russian the works of Charles Bukowski, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Terry Eagleton. A selection of his poems appeared in n+1, issue 6. His essay, “The Writer in Russia,” appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Dissent.
In related unrelated news, the next day the action-artist Alexei Plutser-Sarno posted photos on his website of the most recent art-action by his group Voyna (“War”)–the spray-painting of a giant cock on the Liteyny Bridge in St. Petersburg, next to the FSB building there. At night the bridges of St. Petersburg are raised, and so on the night of the action a giant cock was raised next to the FSB building. As Plutser documents on his site, young people and couples began to arrive at the bridge to have their photos taken next to the cock. See all the photos here.
For background on Plutser and Medvedev, please read this piece from Paper Monument.
Finally, also this past week, a shootout took place between police and an armed anti-government, anti-police vigilante group of young men that had been attacking police stations and killing officers in the Far Eastern region of Primorye. The details are still unclear, but the young men appear to have been motivated by right-wing ideology and also angered by police brutality and corruption. Two of the young men were killed. What connects this story to the above stories is that one of the young men was previously an active member of Eduard Limonov’s National Bolshevik Party… formerly something of an art-action troupe like Plutser’s, now something more (and less) than that. Photos of the young man, Andrei Sukhorad, available also through Plutser’s blog, here. Some video from the shootout here. Police claim Sukhorad shot himself when he saw his situation was hopeless.
For background on the NBP, from quieter times, see here.
The ideological contradictions of the past ten years are finally, it seems, being heightened, and the intellectual muddle cleared up.